Dort­mund have a ‘must-win’derby against Schalke

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BORUS­SIA DORT­MUND'S im­pres­sive per­for­mances in the Cham­pi­ons League could be quickly for­got­ten by their fans if the team loses the Ruhr derby to­day at Schalke.

The show­downs be­tween the two neigh­bour­ing clubs are some of the most con­tested clashes in the Bun­desliga. For fans of both clubs, th­ese are the high­lights of the sea­son.

“We want a derby win,” Dort­mund fans chanted af­ter Tues­day’s 3-0 vic­tory over Shakhtar Donetsk se­cured Dort­mund’s place in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time in 15 years.

“I find it weird, but it shows how im­por­tant that match in Schalke is. For the fans, it is the game,” de­fender Neven Subotic said.

With Bay­ern Mu­nich 17 points ahead, Dort­mund have pro­claimed sec­ond place their goal for the sea­son, and are only one point ahead of Bayer Lev­erkusen.

Schalke held sec­ond place early in the sea­son but then went through a slump.

The club has won their last two, though, and seem to have sta­bilised un­der new coach Jens Keller, who is striv­ing to keep the job into the next sea­son.

Schalke stunned Dort­mund 2-1 away from home in the first half of the sea­son and are now be­gin­ning again to look at Cham­pi­ons League slots. Schalke are 10 points be­hind Dort­mund.

One of the heroes of Schalke’s win in Dort­mund, Marco Hoeger, will be back in the spot­light. Hoeger will re­place in­flu­en­tial mid­fielder Jer­maine Jones, who is sus­pended.

Schalke are coming off a 4-1 win in Wolfs­burg, where Ju­lian Draxler scored twice.

Draxler is only 19, but is about to play his 100th Bun­desliga match, the youngest Schalke player to reach the mile­stone in the club’s his­tory.

“A win in the derby would be just the right thing,” Draxler said.

Dort­mund beat Han­nover 3-1 in their last Bun­desliga match, but could be with­out mid­field­ers Sven Ben­der and Se­bas­tian Kehl, who are both nurs­ing in­juries.

Dort­mund’s only real­is­tic chance of earn­ing a ti­tle this sea­son is to win the Cham­pi­ons League.

Dort­mund won the Bun­desliga cham­pi­onship two sea­sons in a row and also grabbed the Ger­man Cup last year. But they lost to Bay­ern in the quar­ter-fi­nals this sea­son and have lit­tle chance of catch­ing their ri­val in the league.

Bay­ern, who have won all seven of their Bun­desliga matches since the mid- sea­son break, scor­ing 20 and con­ced­ing one goal, host pro­moted For­tuna Dues­sel­dorf to­day and look likely to ex­tend the streak ahead of their Cham­pi­ons League game against Ar­se­nal.

Third-place Lev­erkusen travel to Mainz, while fourth-place Ein­tra­cht Frankfurt visit Han­nover to­mor­row hop­ing to end a fourgame scor­ing slump.

If Ein­tra­cht lose and Freiburg beat Wolfs­burg to­day, Freiburg will move past Frankfurt to claim a Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing spot.

Hof­fen­heim travel to Greuther Fuerth and will drop to last place if they lose.

Greuther Fuerth are two points be­hind in last place and a de­feat would likely doom Hof­fen­heim, who caused a sen­sa­tion when they were pro­moted five years ago.

But the project has stalled and Hof­fen­heim are al­ready five points away from the rel­e­ga­tion play­off slot.

Stuttgart host Ham­burger SV to­mor­row. – Sapa-AP

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