How Dortmund Will Line Up Against Schalke
The 142nd edition of the Ruhr derby is set to be played on Saturday as Schalke play host to bitter arch-rivals Dortmund.
The Gelsenkirchen side lost 3-0 to Chelsea at home on Tuesday, and they have hardly had time to lick their wounds. But having won their last three matches and given the massive occasion of the derby, they will be ready for their run-in with BVB.
Dortmund's fortunes were just the opposite on Tuesday. Juergen Klopp's side traveled to London to face Arsenal and came out victorious with a 2-1 win. And although they remain troubled by many injuries, BVB will be extremely motivated for the Schalke match especially given that they lost both of last year's derbies against their neighbors.
Kick-off for the Ruhr derby is scheduled for Saturday at 9:30 EST (15:30 local time). In the meantime, here's a look at who we can expect BVB to start on Saturday:
Goalkeeper: Roman Weidenfeller
Roman Weidenfeller was slow off his line in his attempt to prevent Olivier Giroud's equalizer for Arsenal on Tuesday, but that mistake is not enough to bench the veteran goalkeeper. Especially in the absence of captain Sebastian Kehl, the 33-year-old Weidenfeller's experience and leadership as deputy captain is extremely important for BVB. And it will be as they enter a hostile Veltins Arena.
Right-Back: Kevin Grosskreutz
Kevin Grosskreutz has deputized for the injured Lukasz Piszczek at right-back for the entire season thus far. And the 25-year-old has performed very well all season. He assisted Robert Lewandowski's winner against Arsenal and will surely start against Schalke. He always is supremely motivated for the Ruhr derby.
Center-Back: Neven Subotic
But for one slip-up, Dortmund were rock-solid at the back against Arsenal, and Neven Subotic was one of the stand-out performers for BVB. The Serbia international has played well this season and continues to have the edge over Sokratis Papastathopoulos in central defense. Subotic has long been a favorite of Juergen Klopp's, and the trainer is unlikely to replace him anytime soon.
Center-Back: Mats Hummels
Mats Hummels received the first red card of his career two matchdays ago, but after serving his suspension last week, is set to return to action. He was eligible to play in the Champions League in midweek, and had an absolutely outstanding performance against Arsenal. The 24-year-old has a difficult go as of late, but perhaps Tuesday's match in London is what he needed to find his way back to form.
Left-Back: Marcel Schmelzer
Marcel Schmelzer played in his first game in a month on Tuesday, having recovered from a hamstring injury. The 25-year-old put in a good shift for the Ruhr side, and, given that he is fit again and remains the only natural left-back in Dortmund's team, he surely will start in the derby against Schalke.
Defensive Midfield: Sven Bender
Sven Bender put in a yeoman's effort against Arsenal in midweek, but there will be no rest for the industrious holding midfielder this weekend, as there currently is no backup fit to play in his stead. Ilkay Gundogan and Sebastian Kehl remain sidelined with injury, so Bender will certainly start in midfield.
Defensive Midfield: Nuri Sahin
Nuri Sahin has been excellent as cover for the injured Ilkay Gundogan. The 25-year-old offers a different skill set from the ex-Nuernberg man, but he was outstanding against Arsenal and was a candidate for man of the match. Like Bender, he put in a tremendous effort in midweek. But like Bender, he is almost certain to start against Schalke given the lack of further depth in his position and how integral he has become to the BVB team.
Right Wing: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Jakub Blaszczykowski put in an industrious shift against Arsenal in midweek, but his productivity was rather muted. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench and looked bright. He'll be fresher, and his energy and outstanding burst of pace may be needed as many of his teammates will play with what may be rather heavy legs.
Central Attacking Midfield: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan's first season at Dortmund has had its ups and downs, but Tuesday was a high note for the Armenia international, who scored the opener at the Emirates. That may be remembered as the turning point for the ex-Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker, who is especially likely to start against Schalke now that he has the chance to build on his momentum.
Left Wing: Marco Reus
Marco Reus looked lively against Arsenal but was largely stymied in the critical moments. He nonetheless remains Dortmund's most dangerous player, and Schalke can expect him to be a thorn in their side. The 24-year-old has been outstanding in the Bundesliga this season. He's fully fit and will surely start on the left wing against Schalke.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski scored the winner against Arsenal and is set to start as per usual against Schalke. His backups, Marvin Ducksch and Julian Schieber, have not been given many minutes to show their quality this season, which says much of the gulf in talent between them and the prolific Poland international. Lewandowski gets the start against Schalke; he'll be the danger man in the box for BVB.
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