Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund: Watertight defence meets razor-sharp attack in 100th Revierderby


Schalke are fighting relegation, Borussia Dortmund are bidding for top honours - both are in fine form going into Saturday's blockbuster. bundesliga.com explains why the 100th Revierderby of the Bundesliga era promises to be a thriller...

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1) Leading the way in 2023

While Dortmund's unbeaten Bundesliga start to 2023 may not come as too much of a surprise given their lofty position in the table, their local rivals Schalke are the only other side in the division who have not suffered defeat since Matchday 17. The Black-Yellows have been imperious, winning all of their eight league matches this year, but Schalke's path has been a little more unconventional.

After four consecutive goalless draws, Die Königsblauen have won each of their previous two outings against fellow relegation candidates VfB Stuttgart and Bochum. It's the first time since the 2005/06 campaign that they have not lost in the first six matches of the top-flight's second half of the season, a streak which gives manager Thomas Reis something to build on.

Rarely in recent years has the Revierderby been a fixture between two in-form teams, adding even more intrigue to this weekend's match-up.

Watch: Dortmund edge past Leipzig with 2-1 win

2) Dortmund sparkling in attack

Much of Dortmund's Europe-leading form over the year's first eight league fixtures has come thanks to an impressive forward line. No other side in the division has scored as many as their 22 goals in 2023, while they also lead the way in terms of shots (130).

Most importantly for Edin Terzic's men, they have become far more efficient in the final third. Prior to the winter break, they struggled to find a clinical edge, scoring 3.8 fewer goals than their xG tally indicated they should have. However, since the 2022 World Cup, they have turned that poor record on its head and are now outperforming their xG by 7.7 strikes.

There are other positives for Terzic, too - no side in the Bundesliga has scored as many as their seven from set-pieces since December, while their five goals by substitutes over that same time period is a league-high. US international Giovanni Reyna, alone, has three of those.

Although Dortmund could be without the in-form Julian Brandt, who suffered a hamstring injury during Tuesday's UEFA Champions League last 16 second-leg defeat to Chelsea, and Karim Adeyemi against Schalke, they have more than enough firepower elsewhere to cause plenty of problems.

Watch: All BVB's Bundesliga goals so far this season

3) Schalke turning a new defensive leaf

Schalke's defensive improvement has, quite frankly, been astounding. After conceding 41 goals during the first half of the season, the worst record in the Bundesliga, they have shipped on just one occasion in the six games since - a number no other outfit has been able to match.

They have been far less generous, facing less than 10 shots in four of those six matches and keeping five clean sheets along the way.

The turnaround has been a team effort, but two players deserve special recognition. Alexander Schwolow was the first choice between the sticks under Frank Kramer but, although Reis stuck with the 30-year-old during the early weeks of his reign, he reinstated Ralf Fährmann for Matchday 18.

The veteran stopper has kept his place ever since, and his form has been inspired. Admittedly, he was to blame for Stuttgart's goal during Matchday 22, but that is the only time he has been beaten this campaign, managing a barely believable 95 percent save-to-shot ratio.

Moritz Jenz was brought in on loan from Celtic during the January transfer window and, just like Fährmann, he is unbeaten this season in Schalke colours. Only Maya Yoshida (62 percent) has managed to win a higher percentage of his duels than Jenz (58 percent), and the 23-year-old has already blossomed into an integral part of the team.

Schalke's Moritz Jenz has been in brilliant form since his January arrival. - IMAGO/Cathrin MŸller /M.i.S./IMAGO/MIS

4) A new club record for Dortmund?

After a somewhat inconsistent end to 2022, Dortmund have hit the ground running in 2023, and were on a 10-match winning streak in all competitions until the loss to Chelsea in midweek.

Their eight successive league triumphs have equalled the club record, meaning they have the chance to create history against Schalke. Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Matthias Sammer and Ottmar Hitzfeld are just some of the former Dortmund managers who have tried and failed to win nine in a row - can Terzic surpass them all? Another three-point haul will only boost their hopes of a first Bundesliga title in 11 years. Interestingly, the last time BVB reeled off eight wins on the bounce, they lifted the Meisterschale (2011/12).

Watch: Terzic hungry for more

5) Hope of survival for Schalke?

Just a few weeks ago, when Schalke sat at the bottom of the table and seven points adrift of safety, few would have given them hope of avoiding an immediate return to the second tier. Fast forward until today, however, and not only do they no longer prop up the division, but they are also level on points with 15th-placed Stuttgart.

For the first time since Matchday 10, they occupy a position higher than 18th, and another positive result at the Veltins-Arena on Saturday could see them move out of the bottom three altogether.

The defeat of Bochum was also the first time since November 2019 that they have won back-to-back Bundesliga games. With meetings against Augsburg, Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin, all of whom sit in the bottom half, to come in their next four games, they have a real opportunity to put some distance between themselves and danger. Reis, though, will not be looking too far ahead and will be eager for his players to continue their strong run against one of the Bundesliga's elite this weekend.