Coming up on the Bundesliga Preview Show this week...
Derby Big Moments
Twelfth against fourth does not usually make for the biggest game of the matchday, but there's always room for an exception when the teams in question are Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04. The two near-neighbours head into the 86th Bundesliga Revierderby in Germany's traditional industrial and football heartland tied on 30 wins apiece with 25 games drawn, that perfect equilibrium having been restored by Schalke's 2-1 win on Matchday 6 this season. This time around, home advantage is with a recently revitalised Dortmund although as is so often the case with local derbies, that added x-factor can easily turf the form book out the window. The Preview Show takes a look back at some classic encounters from years past in this one-of-a-kind Ruhr district rivalry.
A Closer Look
That Matchday 6 encounter at the Veltins Arena was a fruitful one for Schalke's Cameroon international contingent, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting bagging what would eventually prove to be the winner midway through the first half. The Hamburg-born forward, signed from 1. FSV Mainz 05 last summer, was in sensational early-season form for his new club, as testified by his current tally of nine goals and four assists - which just happens to be precisely the same total as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, his more-or-less opposite number at Dortmund. While Choupo-Moting last hit the net at Paderborn back on Matchday 16, however, Borussia's turbo-charged Gabon international has racked up four goals in his last three games alone. The momentum accordingly appears to be rather more on his side, and Dortmund's, heading into this one.
While Franco Di Santo has been garnering most of the scoring plaudits as Werder Bremen continue to power their way up the standings, the Green-Whites have another young sharpshooter making his mark on the Bundesliga at the moment. In 13 starting appearances and six more off the bench, Davie Selke has contributed five goals and three assists to the Bremen revival in this, his own breakthrough season as a professional. Selke, who turned 20 last month, joined Werder at the start of 2013 and made a name for himself on the international stage last summer, finishing top scorer as Germany won the European U-19 title in Hungary - and being voted player of the tournament for good measure. Now, he is confirming that potential in double-quick time.
One of the men tasked with keeping Selkie and Co under wraps this weekend when Bremen step out against VfL Wolfsburg will be Naldo. That said, the hosts will themselves have to maintaining a very close watch on the Wolves' 32-year-old defensive linchpin, given that he has already hit the net six times this season – making him currently the most dangerous back-row operator in the Bundesliga. An aerial powerhouse with a thunderous free-kick technique, the four-time Brazil international is no stranger to the Weserstadion, either, having been a first-team fixture at Bremen for seven years before switching to Wolfsburg in 2012. He can be sure of a warm, if apprehensive, reception on his return on Sunday.