Borussia Dortmund - FC Schalke 04 Preview: Revierderby takes centre stage
Image credit: VAVEL (Jonny Walsh)

Arguably the biggest game of Matchday 12 is the 87th Revierderby, as Schalke travel the short 15 mile journey to the Westfalenstadion, home of their biggest rivals Borussia Dortmund.

With Dortmund having won just one more game against their rivals in their 87 competitive meetings, the Königsblauen will hope to make it 31 all and cut the gap between the two clubs to just three points.

Having both appointed new men in the summer, after Jurgen Klopp’s successful spell (and Roberto Di Matteo’s much less memorable one), it sees Thomas Tuchel going up against Andre Breitenreiter in their first ever Ruhr derbies.

Tuchel’s men have been flying in the league and sit in second place, having lost just once as leaders Bayern Munich turned them over 5-1 at the Allianz, and are prime candidates to be the nearest challengers to Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering squad.

But Schalke under Breitenreiter are undergoing a revival of their own. Not qualifying for the Champions League last time out in a season blotted by infighting, the former Paderborn head coach is slowly turning his new squad into a much tougher egg to crack, and are fourth in the form table.

Yet the season so far has shown a wide gap between the Ruhr rivals in arguably the most important area: goals. Whilst Schalke are ninth in the goal scored table, their 14 goals is some distance behind free-scoring Dortmund, who have made opposition goalkeepers pick the ball out of their net 32 times.

With both teams having conceded 13 times, it means Schalke may need to stay solid and look to play on the counter against their rivals. But having conceded in seven out of their eleven games so far this season, that could be a rather risky game to play.

Team news

Dortmund could be without the services of star forward Marco Reus, who was forced off with a hamstring injury in their 4-0 win over Qabala after opening the scoring against the Azerbaijani opponents.

Schalke will miss key men too, as influential defender Benedikt Howedes and Johannes Geis are out with a fractured finger and suspension respectively, with the latter banned for five games after his horror tackle on Gladbach’s Andre Hahn.

Predicted starting line-ups

Key men

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has been on fire this campaign, having scored 13 goals in eleven games so far in the Bundesliga, and Dortmund’s chances in the derby hinge on Aubameyang taking them.

In his way will be Ralf Fährmann, who celebrated his good form by signing an extension to his contract until 2020. The 27 year old will hope to keep a clean sheet for the club he has been at since 2003.