Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04 Preview: Revierderby sees two teams at opposite ends of the table

Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04 Preview: Revierderby sees two teams at opposite ends of the table

The 149th meeting between the two sides will certainly be an intriguing one with both sides afforded the opportunity to get their season on track.

Jack McGraghan

Matchday nine in the Bundesliga is almost upon us, and with it comes one of the biggest derbies in the country as Borussia Dortmund face Schalke at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday evening.

The two sides have enjoyed very different starts to the season, but as we all know in derby matches, form goes straight out of the window and it is who wants to win more on the day that matters.

Der BVB looking to spoil the surprises at the top of the table

There have certainly been a few surprises at the top of the Bundesliga over the course of the opening eight matchdays, with Leipzig, Hertha Berlin, Hoffenheim and FC Koln occupying four of the top five spots although Bayern unsurprisingly have top spot locked down.

Thomas Tuchel's side currently sit in sixth position in the league table, but their form has began to dip as they have not won in their last three Bundesliga outings and only scraped through in the DFB Pokal against 2.Bundesliga side Union Berlin on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

Dortmund have scored 20 goals in the league so far this season, with only table toppers Bayern matching their ruthlessness in front of goal. Talisman Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has netted seven league goals already this season and is just one behind leading scorer Anthony Modeste who has started the season in scintillating form for FC Koln.

Thumping wins such as the 5-1 away victory over struggling Wolfsburg and the 6-0 home defeat of Darmstadt show that when they are on their game there is no stopping this Dortmund side. However their last Bundesliga outing, a 3-3 draw against second bottom Ingolstadt, shows that consistency has been the missing piece in the jigsaw for Tuchel's men so far this season.

Tuchel has had to deal with losing key players such as Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan this season. (Photo: Getty Images)
Tuchel has had to deal with losing key players such as Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan this season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Die Königsblauen hoping their recent form will continue with a derby day victory

Just as has been the case at the top of the table, there have been a few surprise towards the wrong end of the Bundesliga with Schalke and Wolfsburg in particular struggling badly at the start of the campaign.

Markus Weinzierl's side lost each of their opening five league games and were rooted to the bottom of the table as a result, but in recent weeks they have taken inspiration from their 100% record in the Europa League group stage and are now unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions with only a draw away to Ausgburg preventing them from winning all five.

Three goals in the first half of Schalke's DFB Pokal fixture with Nurnberg saw them through to the third round of the tournament via a 3-2 scoreline, and their last Bundesliga match culminated in a resounding 3-0 win at home to Mainz as Tottenham loanee Nabil Bentaleb found the net twice.

Manager Weinzierl is refusing to be swept away by the club's recent form however, saying that although "the trend is positive" his players are still trying to "rebound from the bad start."

The hosts have the edge when it comes to recent meetings

Last season saw Dortmund come out on top over the two fixtures, as they recorded a 3-2 win over their rivals at Signal Iduna Park thanks to goals from Shinji Kagawa, Matthias Ginter and Aubameyang. The reverse fixture at the Veltins Arena ended in a 2-2 draw as a flurry of second half goals was finished off by a Klaas Jan Huntelaar penalty, ensuring neither team went away happy as Champions League and title hopes began to fade for the two sides.

Schalke have more wins between the two throughout the years, boasting 58 victories compared to Dortmund's 51 with 39 matches ending in a draw. The hosts will be hoping that they can close that gap a little further with a win tomorrow evening.

Team news

Dortmund have been awfully unfortunate with injuries this season, and that trend continues into tomorrow's derby as Marcel Schmelzer, Raphael Guerreiro, Andre Schurrle and Marco Reus are all out of contention for the match. Erik Durm and Neven Subotic remain injured for the foreseeable future.

Schalke have two long-term injuries, with Coke and Breel Embolo set to miss the remainder of the season. Despite those two injuries however, manager Weinzierl has a full strength squad at his disposal and will look to use that to his advantage in order to secure an important Revierderby victory tomorrow evening.

Predicted line-ups

Borussia Dortmund (4-1-3-2): Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Bartra, Ginter, Park; Weigl; Castro, Gotze, Kagawa; Ramos, Aubameyang

FC Schalke 04 (3-1-4-2): Fahrmann; Howedes, Naldo, Nastasic; Geis; Schopf, Bentaleb, Goretzka, Kolasinac; Di Santo, Meyer