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An international cast, the game the world watched and incredible drama: The Revierderby is not a game to miss. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga
An international cast, the game the world watched and incredible drama: The Revierderby is not a game to miss. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga
bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke: 5 reasons to watch the Revierderby

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There's nothing quite like a game between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke. bundesliga.com bangs the drum for the Revierderby, coming to you live around the world this weekend...

Click here for all the news and latest on the 99th Revierderby!

1) Germany's BIGGEST derby

Every country has its own great footballing derbies, from Spain's El Clásico to the Derby della Madonnina in Milan and the Old Firm in Glasgow, but none can claim to be the 'Mother of all Derbies'. That distinction is reserved for meetings between Dortmund and Schalke - the main event on Bundesliga Matchday 7.

And while it may not have quite the international prestige of some of its counterparts, the Ruhrpott rumble undoubtedly carries the same weight with the hardcore fans of both clubs - and means more to them than any other fixture on the football calendar.

So what is a Revierderby? Well, the term generally refers to a neighbourly meeting of two clubs from north-west Germany's heavily industrialised Ruhr district. More specifically, the Revierderby narrows that down to the 20 miles separating Dortmund from Schalke's home base of Gelsenkirchen.

Other than their proximity, there was no particular trigger for a rivalry which, if anything, has only intensified over the years for two sets of supporters who basically like nothing more than to give each other a good pasting.

Watch: The top 5 Revierderby moments

2) Made by the fans, for the fans

Just to ram home what's at stake in the Revierderby, take note of this response from ex-Dortmund player Kevin Großkreutz - himself raised on a strictly BVB diet - when asked what he would do if he had a son who chose to support Schalke. "Give him up for adoption, of course!"

You see, if your reside in the Ruhr district - perhaps with a few exceptions - you're either Black-and-Yellow or Royal Blue. There's no middle ground. And that means rubbing your neighbours' faces in your successes and their failures.

Take the final day of the 2006/07 season, when Dortmund beat Schalke to effectively deny them a first Bundesliga title. In true Schadenfreude spirit, replica shirts commemorating the occasion were soon selling like hot cakes among the BVB faithful.

More recently, when Schalke's relegation to Bundesliga 2 was confirmed in April 2021, Dortmund's die-hard contingent set off celebratory fireworks over Gelsenkirchen. A year earlier, Schalke had partied like it's 1999 after triumphing on Dortmund soil to all but end their rivals' title hopes. So it's very much tit for tat aboard the Revierderby's magic banter bus.

There will be sections of the Dortmund support who would rather see Schalke in the second tier, but others will be relishing the opportunity to renew acquaintances and beat them, now Die Knappen are back in the big time. A capacity 81,000 Signal Iduna Park could not be a more fitting venue - though Schalke fans might disagree.

Watch: Revierderby brothers share incredible story

3) Hey, Jude!

Bellingham will relish the fervent atmosphere more than most. Although England born, he personifies the working-class ethos that runs through the old steel communities of Dortmund. A fighter with finesse and a cerebral midfielder destined to wear the captain's armband sooner rather than later, few players would be more befitting a place in Revierderby folklore.

Adding to the sense of occasion, Bellingham is set make his 100th competitive appearance for Dortmund, just days after scoring his fourth Champions League goal - the most ever by an English teenager in the competition.

Former teammate Erling Haaland ensured BVB left the Manchester City Stadium empty-handed, but the experience will only have stoked the fire that burns deep within the 19-year-old's black-and-yellow soul.

Bellingham would take on the entire Schalke team handcuffed and blindfolded, if he had to.

4) Thrills, spills and comebacks

Dortmund have won the last three derbies by an aggregate score of 11-0, the first of which was a 4-0 success best remembered for the eerie circumstances in which it was played, as the Bundesliga became the first major European league to resume during the coronavirus pandemic.

The behind-closed doors encounter attracted millions of viewers worldwide, from the uninitiated to veterans of the Bundesliga scene. Yes, you all no doubt remember watching this game stuck at home as Germany led the way for football's safe return.

Together, the world bore witness to the new abnormal: audible shouts from players and coaches, along with socially distanced goal celebrations and substitutions protocol. In its own way, the fixture was as memorable as some of the great Revierderbies of times past.

Titles have been decided, dreams shattered - and there's even been a last-minute equaliser from goalkeeper Jens Lehmann - but it's the 91st rendition, on Matchday 13 of 2017/18, that is considered the derby to end all derbies.

Despite being 4-0 up inside 25 minutes, Dortmund conspired to throw away their sizeable advantage as Schalke served up a second-half comeback for the ages.

Four minutes sandwiched goals from Guido Burgstaller and Amine Harit as the Miners began to dig themselves out of a very big hole. Daniel Caligiuri made it 4-3 following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's sending off, before Naldo completed the trick in the third of seven allotted minutes of added time.

There has never been a Revierderby like it and, although we hope otherwise, there probably never will be.

Watch: The legendary 4-4 draw

5) Black-yellow, red, white and blue

Christian Pulisic was on the Dortmund teamsheet that infamous November afternoon. He's one of seven American nationals to have graced the Revierderby stage - but the wait for a first star-spangled derby goal goes on.

Could fit-again Dortmund prodigy Gio Reyna be the man to break the cycle?

"Christian and Weston [McKennie] never scored [in the Revierderby]? That's surprising, I thought Christian would have scored," Reyna told bundesliga.com ahead of his Revierderby debut in October 2020.

"To be the first American to score in this derby would be cool, I'm surprised to hear that neither of them have scored, so hopefully I can score."

Watch: Gio Reyna - ready for Schalke

It'll be a case of third time's a charm, if Reyna pulls it off. The US international also has a 100 percent winning record in senior career meetings with Schalke to uphold.

With 81 derby minutes spanning one start and one substitute appearance in 3-0 and 4-0 triumphs to draw on, the 19-year-old is a relative Revierderby veteran - at least in comparison to the current Schalke crop. Not one member of head coach Frank Kramer's squad has featured in the German football equivalent to Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier.

Luckily for them, form and experience take a back-seat in the rip-roaring world of the Revierderby.

"It's a derby - they're gonna give their best and so are we," Reyna said in the build-up to the 99th meeting between BVB and S04 of the Bundesliga era.

That is all the respective Dortmund and Schalke factions ever ask for. That, and a win over their near, far from dear, neighbours.