The famous Revierderby – the match between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 – takes place this weekend. Who’s going to come out on top?
The two sides are quite evenly matched in these derbies and, although Dortmund are higher in the table and have a better squad, derbies are about more than that – as the win for Schalke at Signal Iduna Park last season proved.
Of course, this one will be played without any fans in attendance – so it will be a very different kind of Revierderby than we have grown accustomed to. Without the Yellow Wall at their backs, will Dortmund fall again?
Recent Revierderby history at Signal Iduna Park favours Schalke
Last season, the derby at Signal Iduna was quite the affair – and it was Schalke who’d take all three points. After Dortmund duo Marco Reus and Marius Wolf were dismissed, Schalke took advantage and ran out 4-2 winners.
In fact, Dortmund haven’t won a home Revierderby since 2015. The most notable of all the games came in the 2017 edition of the Revierderby when Schalke overturned a FOUR goal deficit to rescue a point at the death.
Despite going in at the break 4-0 down, Schalke came out for the second half all fired up. A Dortmund team including the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Gotze were punished for their complacency – made even worse when Aubameyang was shown a red card.
A Schalke fightback which included a brilliant header from Guido Burgstaller and a strike by the young attacking midfielder Amine Harit was complete in the 94th minute. Central defender Naldo rose highest from a corner and powered home a header to send the Royal Blue fans in the corner berserk and steal a point.
No fans in the ground
The fact that there’ll be no fans in the ground could actually end up helping the Dortmund players. The Revierderby atmosphere is known for being one of the most fierce in all of German football – and can be tough to play in, especially for a team full of young stars.
Without fans, there’ll be nobody there to push them across the line, but there’ll also be nobody there to get on their back when they make a mistake – which could lift the pressure on the Dortmund players and allow them to play their game a little bit more comfortably.
In that case, it’ll become more about the quality of the players on the pitch than it will be about who can deal with the famous Revierderby atmosphere better. In that scenario, Dortmund have a clear advantage.
With players like Erling Braut Haaland, Jadon Sancho and co, they’ll give anyone a game. Schalke’s defence will most certainly have their work cut out for them, but that’s not to say they can’t offer a threat to offer in attack too. The likes of Benito Raman, Amine Harit and Alessandro Schopf can all cause the Dortmund defence – which is notoriously leaky – a lot of problems.
What do I think will happen?
Well, the reverse fixture to this game back in October saw a goalless draw at the Veltins Arena – but I don’t see this one going the same way. Nobody’s played football for two months, so I expect fitness to be low and there to be a flurry of action late in the game as legs begin to tire and gaps appear.
For this one, I will back Dortmund to take all three points. There’s more at stake for them in the league too as they look to try and keep pace with Bayern, who have a very winnable game against Union Berlin to contend with.
I don’t see it being a blowout – far from it actually. I think Dortmund will nick the game in the last ten minutes and win by a single goal – either 2-1 or 3-2. The lack of fans in the ground may be a negative for us, but as I was saying earlier, I do actually think it could be a blessing in disguise for the Dortmund team.