The first Revierderby of the Bundesliga season takes place on Saturday afternoon, as Borussia Dortmund hosts Schalke 04 at the Signal Iduna Park.
The two sides might go into this contest on opposite ends of the table, as Dortmund are competing for the title while Schalke are fighting against potential relegation, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t set for yet another exciting chapter in this thrilling rivalry.
Dortmund tend to be a team cursed by injuries, but they fortunately only have a few absences to worry about this time around, as the defensive pairing of Marcel Schmelzer and Dan-Axel Zagadou are the only ones unavailable for selection.
It’s a similar story for Schalke, who just have Suat Serdar out through injury. However, young centerback Ozan Kabak will miss out due to suspension, as he was sent off a few games ago against Werder Bremen, while goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann is listed as doubtful as well.
Borussia Dortmund: Hitz, Piszczek, Hummels, Can, Meunier, Brandt, Witsel, Guerreiro, Sancho, Reyna, Haaland
Schalke 04: Ronnow, Ludewig, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka, Bentaleb, Mascarell, Skrzybski, Harit, Raman, Paciencia
Ones to watch
Wherever Erling Haaland goes, goals tend to follow.
Already one of the best center forwards in all of world football at the age of 20, the Norwegian simply knows where the back of the net is at all times. Possessing unbelievable speed and strength, he can either hold the ball up or run in behind the backline.
Once Haaland gets the ball in the final third, it’s all but over. He’s just so clinical, able to both place a shot into the corner and absolutely smash a hit past a helpless goalkeeper depending on the situation. The forward has grabbed six goals in the opening seven games of the campaign for Dortmund, and has even scored six more for Norway since the start of September, including a hat-trick versus Romania.
He scored in this fixture last season, and considering Schalke’s defensive issues, Haaland will like his chances of finding the back of the net on Saturday.
A forward who has been struggling as of late, meanwhile, is Goncalo Paciencia. However, he finally scored his first of the season this past weekend, and he will now look to carry that momentum into this rivalry contest.
After an inconsistent two year spell with fellow Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt, Paciencia was loaned out to Schalke over the summer. He did relatively well to start the campaign, but he couldn’t do much as the team were beaten by a combined score of 15-1 in their first three games.
There’s a chance a turnaround is on the horizon, though. The Royal Blues got their first point of the year following the international break, with Paciencia scoring the goal that secured a draw versus Union Berlin. It was a clever finish from the Portuguese forward, who managed to head home a corner from a tight angle.
He’ll have a tough test ahead of him, but if Paciencia can lead the line well, then Schalke might just have a chance this weekend.
This matchup got quite ugly last time out, as Dortmund blew Schalke out the water when these two sides met near the end of last season.
There was even more narrative going into the contest than usual due to the fact that it was the Bundesliga’s first game back following the coronavirus hiatus.
After an even start, BVB would take the lead at the half hour mark. Thorgan Hazard found space out wide before whipping in a cross into the area that was redirected into the back of the net by Erling Haaland.
They would double their advantage on the stroke of halftime, as Julian Brandt played Raphael Guerreiro down the left hand side before the Portuguese international rifled a shot into the bottom corner.
At this point, Schalke had pretty much given up. Dortmund would make the most of this, as Hazard scored a goal of his own on the counter before Guerreiro grabbed his brace with nearly 30 minutes still to go.
Dortmund were simply different class on the day, and the Royal Blues never had a chance.
Where to watch
Those in the UK will be able to watch the contest on BT Sport 3, while those in the United States can see it on ESPN+.