The Rhur Derby is on this weekend. Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund will be squaring off in Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen. It is likely to be an exciting game as this encounter is not only related to a local rivalry but also their campaign in Bundesliga this season. Both teams are only separated by one point. The Royal Blues are on the seventh of the table with fourteen points, whereas Dortmund is sitting on the fourth. Although Marco Reus and Co has better position in the standings, it does not mean much in this game. In fact, David Wagner’s men need a victory to give more confidence boost they need after failing to secure three points in the last two matches.
The arrival of David Wagner in Veltins Arena has brought the wind of change. He has transformed the team with better mentality and relied more on the young players than the senior ones such as Suat Serdar, Moroccan striker Amine Harit, Turkish forward Ahmed Kutucu and the loaned English wing back Jonjoe Kenny. Unfortunately, in matchday nine last weekend, they suffered their second loss this season in their visit to Hoffenheim. The Royal Blues were beaten 2-0 by goals from Andrej Kramaric and Ihlas Bebou.
Lucian Favre’s second season with Dortmund seems more challenging than last season despite being able to make several important summer signings like Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard. They were initially considered the main favourite to end Bayern’s domination in Bundesliga. Yet, they are still under the Bavarians on the table and have performed inconsistently. Last week, they managed to win over Gladbach, the current leader in the standings. The captain Marco Reus was the scorer of the game. However, they were defeated by Inter Milan in the Champions League a few days ago. It will be something Favre has to work on soon to improve their form and hopefully return to the top of the table.
Missing Players and Probable Lineups:
David Wagner has been employing various formations so far this season like 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2. Unfortunately, some players are doubtful for these fixtures due to the minor injuries such as Weston McKennie and Suat Serdar. Meanwhile, Nabil Bentaleb will be ruled out due to torn meniscus. This could be tricky for him to decide who will be in the line up.
Schalke: Alexander Nubel; Salif Sane, Benjamin Stambouli, Jonjo Kenny, Bastian Oczipka; Omar Mascarell, Daniel Caligiuri, Armine Harit, Alessandro Schopf, Benito Rahman ; Guido Bugstaller.
Lucian Favre, who is normally in favour of 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, will have to deal with the team’s crisis recently. He will definitely need to modify a bit due to the absence of their centre forward, Paco Alcacer. Giving a false-nine role to Marco Reus seems to be the best alternative.
Dortmund: Roman Burki; Matts Hummells, Manuel Akanji,, Nico Schultz, Raphael Guerrero; Thomas Delaney, Axel Witsel, Julian Brandt; Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Achraf Hakimi.
Dortmund seems to be quite inferior in this derby games as they have only won once in the last six head-to-head encounters while Schalke has been able to win twice. Nevertheless, Marco Reus and Co have been unbeaten in 10 of the 11 Bundesliga match.
Playing at home should be an advantage for The Royal Blues to win, especially since they also do not participate in any European competitions this season. Nevertheless, their unconvincing form in the last two games might indicate that they will be rather difficult to win this time. A draw would be fair for both teams.
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