Sparks to fly in Ruhr derby

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Ber­lin

– Schalke 04 plot to be­come the first Bun­desliga side to beat Borus­sia Dort­mund this sea­son and ex­tend the Ger­man league lead­ers’ re­cent mis­ery in Gelsenkirchen in to­day’s Ruhr Val­ley derby.

This is the first time in six years Dort­mund go into the derby on top of the ta­ble, but they last won at the Veltins Arena half a decade ago.

A gulf of 19 points and 12 places in the ta­ble sep­a­rates the clubs, who are only 33km apart, but Schalke are itch­ing to get one over their high-fly­ing neigh­bours and bit­ter ri­vals.

Dort­mund have not won any of the last five der­bies and Schalke ran out 2-0 win­ners in Gelsenkirchen last April.

The Royal Blues held an open train­ing ses­sion for home fans yes­ter­day to fire the city up for one of Euro­pean foot­ball’s most pas­sion­ate der­bies.

“In derby games, there is no out­sider and no favourites,” said Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco (above).

“We will do ev­ery­thing to come out of the derby with a pos­i­tive re­sult.”

Tedesco sees his team’s press­ing as their big­gest weapon, plus the im­prov­ing form of mid­field­ers Se­bas­tian Rudy and Nabil Ben­taleb, whose penalty res­cued a point in last week­end’s 1-1 draw at Hof­fen­heim.

How­ever, the Royal Blues have huge in­jury prob­lems up front with for­wards Mark Uth, Franco di Santo and Breel Em­bolo side­lined, while Guido Burgstaller and Steven Skrzyb­ski are strug­gling to be fit in time.

In con­trast, Dort­mund’s at­tack is on fire.

Goal-ma­chine Paco Al­cacer, the league’s joint top-scorer with ten goals, has scored nine times off the bench and hit the net in each of his last three games.

Eng­land winger Jadon Sancho may be un­avail­able due to a fam­ily be­reave­ment but cap­tain Marco Reus has scored four goals and set up an­other in his last four games, in­clud­ing a brace in the 3-2 win at home to Bay­ern Mu­nich.

Mean­while de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Bay­ern will hope Dort­mund stum­ble in Schalke to help them close the nine-point gap when they host strug­glers Nurem­berg at the Al­lianz Arena.

We will do ev­ery­thing to come out of the derby with a pos­i­tive re­sult. Domenico Tedesco Schalke 04 coach

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.