The highlight match of the Bundesliga weekend definitely brings forward the 150th Revierderby between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund who square off on Veltins Arena on Saturday afternoon.
One of the main problems for Schalke this season has been their issue with consistency and that is something that needs to be overcome if the hosts are to secure a win in the forthcoming clash with Borussia Dortmund. Even though the Royal Blues won two Bundesliga matches in a row before the international break, the UEFA Europa League quarterfinalists will have a hard time continuing their upward trend, given the fact that they have alternating between wins, draws and defeats inconsistently throughout the season. The last two Bundesliga triumphs helped Schalke make an important step towards the European places, but the Royal Blues will need to step up their game if they want to overcome the four-point deficiency behind the teams inside the top six. The hosts will have to battle tradition as well, as the Royal Blues are winless against Borussia Dortmund in last four Revierderby matches. Still, their work will be made even harder with all of the selection problems Markus Weinzierl is dealing with.
Dennis Aogo, Baba Rahman, Breel Embolo, Naldo, Matija Nastasic, Donis Avdijaj, Coke and Phil Neumann all miss out through respective injuries, whereas the experienced striker Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar is hoping to be available following an illness.
Dortmund not giving up
Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to defy Schalke’s pressure and prevent the hosts from putting a dent in their hopes of finishing within the top three in the Bundesliga this season. Thomas Tuchel’s men are only one point ahead of Hoffenheim in fourth place in the Bundesliga standings, whereas they are trailing second-placed RB Leipzig by three points. Bayern Munich are unreachable at the summit with 16 points ahead and all Borussia Dortmund want is for this season to be over with, but not before they have clinched the Champions League place for next season. Tuchel is getting ready for some team rebuilding as chances are the club’s top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be leaving Dortmund at the end of the season. The Gabon international has bagged 23 goals in the Bundesliga this season and will be terribly missed once he’s gone. Aubameyang has scored in four of the five derbies against Schalke he started and will once again be the greatest menace upfront for the visiting side.
Marco Reus is having problems with his thigh injury, whereas his Germany teammate Mario Gotze has been struck with a serious illness that could end his career. In addition, Borussia Dortmund are missing Sebastian Rode, who is having a groin issue, whereas Sven Bender has returned to training after recovering from an ankle injury.
History teaches us that Borussia Dortmund are firm favourites to win this match and the stats are also stacked against the hosts, who are in for a proper test to their upwards trajectory of late. Visitors are however a more quality side and could end up winning the match.
Top pick: Dortmund 2.00 (1/1) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Aubameyang to score anytime 1.95 (19/20) @Betfair
Alternative pick 2: Aubameyang to score & Dortmund to win 2.62 (13/8) @SkyBet