Goal.com previews the return leg of the Ruhr derby.
Despite the absence of talismanic playmaker Shinji Kagawa, Dortmund have been in fine form this spring. Aside from a hiccup against Stuttgart, the league leaders have replicated their successes from the fall campaign, earning a 3-1 win against their closest rivals Leverkusen, and a 3-0 triumph against Wolfsburg.
Their consistency has led Kevin Grosskreutz to come out with a bold statement. On Tuesday, the winger told Bild: “Our team really is something special. You don’t see such a good team spirit very often. Everybody’s willing to help someone else, both on and off the pitch.”
“I have a feeling that we won’t lose a single match in the second half of the league season.”
In the fall, Dortmund hammered Schalke by a 3-1 margin, but that was with Kagawa as the central playmaker. The 21-year old predicted a brace and delivered it in that match; BVB will have to manage without him in their ranks this time around.
“We need to play the kind of football that keeps the opposition from showing their qualities,” coach Juergen Klopp said ahead of the derby. “Ant it helps to keep the tempo high…”
“We are fully aware that we have a great chance to give our fans a second Derby win of the season. They will play their part and create an exceptional atmosphere!”
Schalke Chomping At The Bit
Grosskreutz may believe BVB won’t lose a game this spring, but Schalke will do everything possible to prove him wrong. Die Koenigsblauen are bitter rivals of Dortmund and have something to prove after being so badly beaten in the Ruhr derby last fall.
Due to a few late moves in the transfer market, Schalke will be a changed team on Saturday. Anthony Annan was brought in to replace departed midfielder Ivan Rakitic, and veterans Ali Karimi and Angelos Charisteas were signed to provide depth to what has become a faltering attack.
Schake are indeed in a state of disarray, but derbies—and especially the Ruhr, which is often called the “mother of all derbies—always offer the chance to gather some momentum. Heading into Friday’s match, die Knappen have a good run of recent history to fall back upon; in their last games in Dortmund, they have only lost once.
“This record, we naturally want to keep,” Felix Magath told reporters
“After the 0-1 [loss] against Hoffenheim many players were obviously dejected,” he added. In training, you could fee that now they could hardly wait until the Derby.”
Always armed with a few tricks up his sleeve, Magath remained coy about his selection for the biggest domestic match of the spring: I will wait for the final impression.”
Klopp is expected to make no surprises; his only change will be the use of Felipe Santana in central defence ahead of Neven Subotic, who is suspended having seen his fifth yellow card of the season. Shinji Kagawa, Sebastian Kehl, Florian Kringe, and Patrick Owomoyela have been ruled out.
Probable Starting XI: Weidenfeller – Piszczek, Hummels, Felipe Santana, Schmelzer – Bender, Sahin – Blaszczykowski, Goetze, Grosskreutz – Barrios
Magath has been known to make surprise selections ahead of big games, but the coach is not expected to make any shocking selections this time. Either Anthony Annan or Kyriakos Papadopoulos will start in central midfield alongside Peer Kluge, while Christian Pander and Edu will duke it out for a starting berth on the left flank. Tim Hoogland and Christoph Moritz are both out with knee injuries, while Angelos Charisteas and Levan Kenia are both still working on achieving top fitness in training.
Probable Starting XI: Neuer – Uchida, Hoewedes, Metzelder, Schmitz – Farfan, Kluge, Annan, Pander – Huntelaar, Raul