It's a GOAL! with a difference this week, taking a seriously in-depth look at the first Revierderby of the season.Like every other football nation, Germany has its share of passionate local rivalries and while their relative intensity is inevitably a subjective matter, there is no doubting that for sheer magnitude the games between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund are played out at a different level again from all the rest. This Saturday, it is Jürgen Klopp's Schwarzgelben who make the short journey west to Gelsenkirchen to take on their Royal Blue neighbours. The hosts are slowly working their way up the table after an indifferent season start and a hard-earned victory at Braunschweig last weekend lifted them into the top five for the first time. Dortmund are still hard on the heels of FC Bayern at the summit, having recovered from their first league defeat of the season in Mönchengladbach by labouring to a single-goal win against Hannover. Both sides also go into this one on the back of tough Champions League encounters with London opposition- at home to Chelsea in Schalke's case and away to Arsenal in Dortmund's. Come what may, the players will undoubtedly still have enough in the tank to give their all in this one.
Insider Report I
By any standards, FC Schalke 04 are no ordinary club. Founded in 1904 by a group of young football enthusiasts in the coalmining village of Schalke - which itself had only recently been incorporated into the nearby city of Gelsenkirchen - they remain true to those industrial working-class roots to this day, to a degree probably unparalleled at any other Bundesliga club. A founder-member of Germany's new single-tier national league in 1963, Schalke remained ever-present in it until 1981 - although the intervening years, just like those since, were not without their sometimes turbulent ups-and-downs. The Royal Blues have long since reestablished themselves among the country's top sides but thus far, and despite coming painfully close on occasion, that coveted first Bundesliga title has proved beyond their reach.
Insider Report II
Borussia Dortmund officially saw the light of day five years after Schalke, in 1909. Over and above the business of playing football the club, like their near-neighbours, served an important social function from the start. For migrant workers streaming into the heavily industrialised Ruhr district at the time from Poland, East Prussia and elsewhere, it offered an obvious channel for integration and local identification. Dortmund's own rise to the top of the national game only really began in the post-WWII era but from there it was rapid and, indeed, BVB went into the inaugural Bundesliga season as German champions. The 1970s and '80s served up an extended era of gradual decline but Dortmund bounced back in high style under Ottmar Hitzfeld in the mid-90s, with 1997's Champions League victory the crowning glory. Plunged into financial chaos less than a decade later, die Schwarzgelben have in recent years arisen, phoenix-like, to the ranks of the European elite once again under Jürgen Klopp.