German football does not do derbies by half, and that is most certainly the case when it comes to Borussia Dortmund against FC Schalke 04.
bundesliga.com outlines why fireworks are a nailed-on certainty when the two Ruhr district neighbours go toe-to-toe in the 87th edition of the fabled Revierderby on Sunday (kick-off 15:30CET/14:30GMT)…
With Dortmund just a 20-minute car journey from Gelsenkirchen, it is fair to say local pride means everything for all concerned. The two cities are a huge part of the Ruhr district’s industrial past, with Dortmund famed for its steelworks and Gelsenkirchen located slap bang in the coal heart of Germany. Both clubs have enjoyed varying degrees of domestic and international success down the years, but previous sporting achievements matter not when it comes to match day.
The Sane factor
From one Ruhrpott gem to another, Schalke's Leroy Sane is the talk of Gelsenkirchen at present. Since bursting onto the scene with a stunning goal against Real Madrid CF in last season's UEFA Champions League round of 16, the nimble 19-year-old has scarcely put a foot wrong at home or abroad. He has featured in all 15 of Schalke's competitive outings in 2015/16, scoring five - including the equaliser at home to FC Ingolstadt 04 last Saturday - and chipping in with three assists. His senior Revierderby debut cannot come soon enough.
Revierderby debutants in the dugout
Two men also set to make their Revierderby bows are Thomas Tuchel and Andre Breitenreiter. Both have done a fine job with their respective sides since moving to the Ruhrgebiet in the summer, but it is Tuchel's Dortmund who have the edge form-wise. Die Schwarz-Gelben have picked up maximum points in the Bundesliga since losing to FC Bayern München on Matchday 8, while Breitenreiter's Schalke have won only one of their last four.
Operation Champions League
Their contrasting recent fortunes aside, there is still only a six-point gap between second-in-the-table Dortmund and fourth-placed Schalke in the . After falling short of the Champions League places last season, both clubs are determined to set the record straight with a top-four finish in 2015/16. If it happens to be at the expense of the other, all the better.