Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke: preview, team news, starting XIs

German football is back with a bang this weekend as familiar foes Borussia Dortmund and Schalke compete in the 156th Revierderby.

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke: preview, team news, starting XIs
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Borussia Dortmund host Schalke this weekend as the Bundesliga makes its return following a two-month hiatus due to the global coronavirus pandemic. **Follow the game live**

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke Preview

German football is back with a bang this weekend as familiar foes Borussia Dortmund and Schalke compete in the 156th Revierderby. The two biggest clubs in the Ruhr region are both in the European places as it stands and will want to hit the ground running with just nine fixtures left to play.

For once the fixture will not be played in front of a roaring crowd with the game held behind closed doors to adhere to Germany’s social distancing restrictions. The DFB has also introduced a number of new measures, from substitutes wearing masks to a ban on high-fives, to help limit the risk of infection.

Borussia Dortmund are in second place, just four points behind leaders Bayern Munich and look the most likely to prevent the title heading to Bavaria for an eighth consecutive season. Dortmund’s most recent game was a 2-0 defeat to PSG that saw them eliminated from the Champions League but their league form had been strong, picking up 12 points from their last five games.

In Jadon Sancho they have one of the biggest attacking threats in the league and he will hope to add to the 14 goals and 15 assists that he has already recorded. Alongside Thorgan Hazard and Erling Haaland the England international makes up one of Europe’s most dangerous attacking tridents.

Schalke currently occupy the sixth and final European spot but are just a point clear of both Wolfsburg and Freiburg. Last season saw Schalke dragged into a relegation battle but new boss David Wagner has turned them into Europa League hopefuls on the back of some solid defensive displays.

However after a fantastic start to the season they lost their way and won just once in the eight matches before the league was suspended. A big part of their problem has been a lack of goals with midfielder Suat Serder currently their top scorer in the league with seven. Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny has started all but two of Die Knappen’s league games this season and is expected to keep his place at right-back.

Borussia Dortmund starting XI vs Schalke

Bürki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji, Hakimi, Delaney, Brandt, Guerreiro, Dahoud, Haaland, Reyna

Schalke starting XI vs Borussia Dortmund

Schubert, Nastasic, Kenny, Todibo, Oczipka, Sane, McKennie, Serdar, Caligiuri, Harit, Raman

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke: Injuries and Suspensions

Despite having not played a game since the middle of March Bundesliga title hopefuls Borussia Dortmund find themselves without a number of key players for the big restart on Saturday. The 3-4-3 formation they usually favour relies heavily on the defensive cover and passing range provided by Axel Witsel and Emre Can in the middle of midfield. However boss Lucien Favre confirmed on Thursday that both had suffered muscular injuries and would not be fit to play. Club stalwart Marco Reus is likely to be out of contention, while defenders Dan-Axel Zagadou and Nico Schultz are also doubts.

Schalke are more fortunate but will also be without left-back Benjamin Stambouli, midfielder Omar Mascarell and centre-back Ozan Kabak. The latter had been a regular starter in the Schalke defence but suffered a pelvis injury in a 3-0 defeat to FC Koln in March.

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke: What the managers said

Lucien Favre (Borussia Dortmund): "A match without spectators is really different and we have to be well prepared… It's a question of mentality, which is very important.”

David Wagner (Schalke): “It's been tough going, but the lads have made the best of this situation. One huge advantage is that we aren't just playing any old match, but rather the derby. Even though the fans can't be with us in the stadium, I know that they will be fully backing us."

Prediction: With players likely to be short of match fitness and an empty stadium it is hard to know what to expect from this Revierderby, but it seems unlikely that goal-shy Schalke will be able to match Dortmund’s firepower in attack. 2-0