Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund: Together they contest the Revierderby, one of the fiercest and and most passionate match-ups in global football. But what if the likes of Weston McKennie, Nabil Bentaleb and Naldo partnered up with Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Christian Pulisic in one squad?
1.Roman Bürkiover Ralf Fährmann
Only 18 players have ever crossed the Ruhr divide between Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen, but bundesliga.com has come up with a combined Revier squad based on shirt numbers alone. How would this lot fare in action?
Only RB Leipzig's Peter Gulacsi (7) has more clean sheets in the Bundesliga this season than Dortmund's Bürki (5), while the Swiss goalkeeper has even improved his shot-stopping, saving 77 per cent of efforts on his goal this term (up from 70% in 2017/18). The arrival of Marwin Hitz from Mainz in the summer threatened to spell the end of his tenure as first choice at the Signal Iduna Park, but Bürki has in fact strengthened his grip on the No.1 jersey.
Fährmann can consider himself unlucky to miss out on this squad. The Schalke captain kept a league-best 13 clean sheets last season as the Royal Blues finished runners-up and two places clear of rivals Dortmund. The 30-year-old only has two to his name in 2018/19, while his impressive record of appearing in 117 consecutive Bundesliga matches also came to an end with a groin strain in October.
2. Weston McKennie over Dan-Axel Zagadou
Two youngsters with a great future ahead of them, but American McKennie narrowly wins out here due to his experience and versatility within a team. The USA international has played in defence, midfield and attack during his Schalke career, scoring his first goals in senior football with crucial strikes in back-to-back wins over Lokomotiv Moscow and Fortuna Düsseldorf in October.
Zagadou may only be 19 but has enjoyed a renaissance under Lucien Favre. Prior to Matchday 5's 7-0 win over Nuremberg, the Frenchman had featured just once in all competitions since the remarkable 4-4 draw with Schalke on Matchday 13 of 2017/18. Now he's played every competitive game bar one, starting nine matches in a row in the Bundesliga at his preferred centre-back after playing just 11 league games in the whole of last season.
The Morocco international has had an up-and-down start to his life in Gelsenkirchen since arriving from Lille in the summer. He has, though, proven to be a robust addition to the Royal Blues' defence, winning over 52 per cent of his challenges. However, the 21-year-old still has to work a little on his discipline after five yellow cards in just seven Bundesliga appearances.
4. Abdou Diallo
A summer arrival from Mainz, the 22-year-old has played when fit and available. Predominantly a centre-back, Diallo has also shown his worth to Dortmund by capably filling in at left-back. Despite his 6'2" frame, the France U21 international is very much the model of a modern defender who can tackle and distribute the ball. Only five players have a better pass completion rate this season than Diallo (91%).
Watch: The history behind the Revierderby
5.Achraf Hakimiover Matija Nastasic
A mainstay of the Schalke defence since his arrival in 2015, Serbia international Nastasic is of the no-nonsense mould. Dortmund full-back Hakimi, however, has shown his flair since arriving from Real Madrid on loan. A goal and three assists in nine Bundesliga appearances is an excellent return for the defender, who has also shown maturity at the back by committing just 10 fouls in his contribution to the league's second-meanest defence.
6. Thomas Delaney over Omar Mascarell
Two summer signings who have enjoyed differing starts to life at their new clubs. While Mascarell has struggled to break through at Schalke since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt as a DFB Cup winner, Delaney has become a key man in Borussia's robust new midfield following his arrival from Werder Bremen. A bustler who wins almost 60 per cent of his challenges, he's added grit to a part of the Dortmund team that had long been considered its weak underbelly.
7. Jadon Sancho over Mark Uth
On paper, Uth's arrival on a free transfer from Hoffenheim looked to be one of the best pieces of business over the summer, but despite winning his first Germany cap in October, the 27-year-old's Schalke career has failed to take off with just a goal and an assist in 11 league outings.
On the other hand, Sancho has burst onto the scene in his second Bundesliga season with Dortmund. With a league-high six assists, as well as four goals, the English teenager has become one of the first names on Favre's teamsheet thanks to his fearless attacking intent. Like Uth, Sancho has also received his first senior cap this season, but Sancho did so at the age of just 18.
Watch: Up close with Jadon Sancho
Another summer arrival in the Schalke midfield, the former Mainz man has featured in the majority of the Royal Blues' matches both on the domestic front and in Europe, but is yet to nail down a position in Tedesco’s side. Still only 21, Serdar’s time may still come.
9. Paco Alcacer over Franco Di Santo
Argentine Di Santo was a trusted member of Tedesco's side that finished second last season, but has fallen out of favour somewhat this term. He is, however, up against the Bundesliga’s top scorer in Alcacer. The Spaniard, who originally joined Dortmund on loan from Barcelona but has since made the move permanent, has scored a whopping 10 goals in just 281 minutes on the pitch in the Bundesliga. Nine of those have been as a substitute!
10. Nabil Bentaleb over Mario Götze
Mario Götze's troubles since scoring the winning goal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final have been well documented, but the 26-year-old is enjoying a revival of sorts under Favre, who has employed him once again as a false 9. However, he loses out here to Bentaleb, who is one of the first names on Tedesco's teamsheet. The Algeria international puts himself about with his strong passing game, tackles and enjoys a shot or two. He's also the Royal Blue entrusted with penalties, converting three out of three this term.
11. Marco Reus over Yevhen Konoplyanka
Dortmund captain Reus is the club's leader both on and off the pitch. The local boy sets the example for the rest of his teammates, and already has nine goals and five assists to his name this season. Quite simply, when the Reus gets rolling, so do Borussia. The Germany international enjoys facing Schalke, too: in 13 meetings with the Royal Blues in all competitions, he's racked up six goals and five assists.
Konoplyanka may be one of Ukraine's most important players, but the winger has been used more for rotation this season by Tedesco. The 29-year-old has only featured five times in the Bundesliga so far, with the majority of his playing time coming in the DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Nowadays a number often reserved by clubs for their fans who act as the team's 12th man, neither of these local rivals have had a player wearing 12 for a number of years.
13. Sebastian Rudy over Raphael Guerreiro
Guerreiro may be a European champion and utility player for club and country, but he narrowly loses out on the sometimes unlucky No.13 shirt to Germany's FIFA Confederations Cup winner Rudy. The former Hoffenheim man arrived in Gelsenkirchen during the summer from Bayern Munich as Schalke looked to bolster their midfield with an experienced head. With a passing accuracy approaching 90 per cent, he's the man who makes the Royal Blues tick in the centre of the park.
14. Alexander Isak over Abdul Rahman Baba
Chelsea loanee Baba may have played two first-team matches this season while Isak is yet to feature, but the Sweden U21 international has shown good form for the BVB reserves with five goals and two assists in 10 Regionalliga West games. Thanks to the 19-year-old's contribution the Black and Yellows currently sit fourth in a tight fourth tier.
The former Hoffenheim man has struggled to break into the Dortmund side this season under Favre, featuring in a matchday squad just once at Wolfsburg. He is, however, a versatile member of the squad, able to operate on either side of defence.
16. Manuel Akanji over Johannes Geis
Geis appeared to be the future of the Schalke midfield when he arrived from Mainz in 2015, but his progress has stalled somewhat of late. After an unsuccessful loan spell at Sevilla last season, he has yet to feature at all this term. Compare that to defender Akanji, whose career has taken off since his January arrival from Basel. The Switzerland international has become a pillar at the heart of the Borussia defence and has played 10 games, even scoring against Nuremberg. A long-term injury has curtailed his progress for now but Dortmund are showing no ill-effects yet.
17. Benjamin Stambouli over Sergio Gomez
Barcelona graduate Gomez made his senior Dortmund debut as a 17-year-old last season as a late substitute against VfB Stuttgart. That was followed by another appearance against Bayer Leverkusen a fortnight later, but the teenager has struggled to break through since then. Ten years his senior, Frenchman Stambouli is seen as a key member of Schalke's team. Signed from Paris Saint-Germain as a holding midfielder, the 28-year-old has become a reliable centre-back under Tedesco and one of the first players he turns to. With club captain Fährmann injured, he was handed the armband immediately on his return from injury this season.
18. Daniel Caligiuri over Sebastian Rode
Caligiuri's arrival from Wolfsburg in January 2017 for a nominal fee looks to have been some of the Royal Blues' best business of recent years. Last season he missed just one game as he chipped in with six goals and 11 assists from the wing on Schalke's way to finishing second. Things have been less prolific for player and club this time around with just two assists, but no one has played more minutes for the Royal Blues in 2018/19 than Caligiuri. On the other hand, 28-year-old midfielder Rode has found playing time hard to come by since joining BVB from Bayern in 2016.
19.Guido BurgstalleroverMahmoud Dahoud
Dahoud has threatened to show the sort of form that saw Dortmund sign him from rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach ahead of last season, but has found himself drifting in and out of the BVB side. Burgstaller, on the other hand, has only missed four competitive games since arriving from Nuremberg in January 2017. His 28 goals for the Royal Blues are the most of anyone over that period, while he was also top scorer for both Nuremberg and Schalke in 2016/17 despite playing just six months for both.
20. Maximilian Philipp
At 24, there's still plenty of time for the Berlin native to hit his stride in Dortmund. Capable of playing out wide or as a centre forward, he's often been employed as the latter by Favre this season. Despite the arrival of Alcacer, the former Freiburg man has still featured in 13 of BVB's 20 competitive fixtures in 2018/19, scoring two goals.
21. Sascha Riether
The veteran right-back re-joined Schalke as a free agent in October 2017, but so far the 35-year-old – a Bundesliga champion with Wolfsburg in 2008/09 – has never gotten closer to the pitch than the bench.
22. Christian Pulisic over Steven Skrzybski
Skrzybski's start to his Schalke career has been blighted by injuries since he signed from Bundesliga 2 side Union Berlin in the summer, but he did score a brace on his first Bundesliga start in the 5-2 win over Nuremberg. However, he's up against Dortmund's American record breaker. Still only 20, Pulisic has already been called "the best American player ever" by former USA striker Eddie Johnson. The youngest ever winner of the USMNT Player of the Year award, he is being touted as a potential captain for the USA squad and has made over 100 appearances for the BVB first team. And the superlatives continue to come from all angles…
23.Shinji Kagawaover Cedric Teuchert
Up-and-coming striker Teuchert enjoyed a promising pre-season on Schalke's tour to China, but the 21-year-old's playing time has been limited by a hip injury sustained in October, after three Bundesliga appearances. Kagawa has only managed two games in the league this season as he struggles to find a way into Favre's settled team, but the Japan international's CV speaks for itself: after winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles with Dortmund under Jürgen Klopp, he was named Asian International Footballer of the Year in 2012.
24. Bastian Oczipka
Immediately Schalke's first-choice left-back after joining from Eintracht Frankfurt for the 2017/18 season, Oczipka was a key man down the left as the Royal Blues finished second in the league last season. Groin surgery over the summer meant he only made his first appearance of this term on Matchday 12, but he's once again claimed the left flank as his own.
25. Amine Harit
The Morocco international could make his 50th Schalke appearance in this weekend's derby. He's scored four goals and registered nine assists for the Royal Blues since joining from Nantes in 2017, as well as featuring at the 2018 World Cup with his nation.
26.Lukasz Piszczekover Salif Sane
One of Dortmund's most loyal servants since joining from Hertha Berlin in 2010, BVB's right side is almost unthinkable without the Poland international. During the course of over 300 competitive appearances with Borussia, Piszczek has won the Bundesliga and DFB Cup twice each, and was also part of the side that reached the 2013 UEFA Champions League final at Wembley.
Sane has immediately become one of Schalke's most important players at the back after signing from Hannover, even dislodging the seemingly evergreen Naldo from defence. Only Caligiuri has played more minutes this season than the Senegal international, who has featured in all but one competitive outing.
27. Marius Wolf
Wolf joined Dortmund from Frankfurt in the summer as a DFB Cup winner, and featured prominently in BVB's opening games of the season, but has only featured twice for the first team since the start of October. He netted against his former side in a 3-1 win on Matchday 3.
28. Axel Witsel over Alessandro Schöpf
Former Bayern youth product Schöpf joined Schalke from Nuremberg in January 2016, and is now approaching 100 appearances in Royal Blue. He's shown his versatility across the midfield, but loses out on the No.28 jersey to Dortmund's midfield general Witsel. The Belgian is one of the most important pieces in the BVB puzzle as they continue their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga campaign. After coming off the bench to score a vital late equaliser against Greuther Fürth, sparing Borussia's blushes in the DFB Cup first round, he netted again on his Bundesliga debut a week later against RB Leipzig – August's Goal of the Month – and hasn't looked back since.
29.Naldoover Marcel Schmelzer
Schmelzer is currently Dortmund's longest-serving player and was club captain during the last two seasons before voluntarily relinquishing the role. He retained his position as first-choice left-back at the start of the season before a fractured ankle sidelined him for the foreseeable future.
He still has some way to go before matching the longevity of Naldo; Claudio Pizarro (457) is the only non-German to have made more appearances in the Bundesliga than the Brazilian (357). While it's unlikely the 36-year-old will make up the 100 games to overtake his fellow South American, he did achieve the remarkable feat last season of playing every single second of Bundesliga action – one of just four outfield players to do so, and the only one over the age of 30. The 6'6" defender has been limited to just six outings in the league so far in 2018/19, but he loves derby day. Two of his seven goals last season came against Dortmund, including a 94th-minute header to round off Schalke's sensational comeback from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 at the Signal Iduna Park.
32. Dzenis Burnic
A Dortmund youth product, the 20-year-old defensive midfielder spent last season on loan at Stuttgart, where he featured eight times for the first team. This term he's back at Borussia, but only with the reserves, where he's played nine times.
33. Julian Weigl
The defensive midfielder has over 130 appearances for Borussia since joining from 1860 Munich in 2015, but has featured only six times for the first team this season, with competition in the BVB midfield hotting up.
34. Jacob Bruun Larsen over Michael Langer
In his second season with Schalke, Bundesliga veteran Langer is yet to feature for the first team as third-choice goalkeeper. He's been a substitute four times this season after Alexander Nübel was forced to cover for the injured Fährmann, but is yet to see competitive action. That's in stark contrast to 20-year-old Bruun Larsen, who has returned from a year on loan at Stuttgart to become a vital member of Favre's attacking outfit. Prior to this season the Dane had made just two first-team appearances, but now commands a starting position and has featured 13 times alongside Reus and Co.
Watch: BVB and Schalke played out a Revierderby for the ages in November 2017
35.Marwin Hitzover Alexander Nübel
Another Bundesliga champion with Wolfsburg in 2009, Hitz joined Dortmund on a free in the summer and was expected by many to take over as first-choice keeper ahead of compatriot Bürki. That didn’t happen, however, as Favre stuck with the incumbent, meaning Hitz has been restricted to just two senior appearances. That being said, one did come in the thrilling 3-2 win over Bayern on Matchday 11.
Nübel joined the Royal Blues from Paderborn in 2015 as a 19-year-old understudy to Fährmann, but due to the Schalke captain's run of 117 consecutive Bundesliga appearances, Nübel has only played eight times for the first team. His first two appearances came on the last day of the season in 2016 and 2018, although he has featured in six games this term because of Fährmann's absence.
36. Breel Embolo over Ömer Toprak
Toprak has been a solid addition to the Dortmund defence after joining from Leverkusen last season, and he's already approaching 50 appearances for the club as he slowly makes his way back from a torn muscle that he suffered at the end of last season.
Embolo too is approaching that landmark for Schalke but in a season more. That, though, is nothing to do with ability but the striker's rotten luck with injuries. A broken ankle meant he missed the vast majority of his first season in Gelsenkirchen, and now the Switzerland international has suffered another setback with a fractured foot. Nevertheless, a fit Embolo earns himself a place in this squad.
39. Benjamin Goller
Goller joined Schalke's famed Knappenschmiede academy in 2016 and has seriously impressed for the club's U19s, racking up 17 goals and 26 assists in 60 appearances. The pacy right winger has yet to feature for the senior squad – but given the 19-year-old's considerable potential, the club will surely be keen to extend his current deal beyond next summer.
40. Haji Wright over Eric Oelschlägel
Wright's experience with Schalke goes to show that good things come to those who wait. The American striker has been on the club's books since early 2016, but spent his first full season starring for the U19s – with 12 goals and 12 assists in 26 appearances – before being loaned out to second-tier Sandhausen in 2017/18. After netting another six goals in nine Oberliga outings this term, he was finally thrown in at the deep end by Tedesco, making his Bundesliga debut against Nuremberg and his first start in the 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim. The 20-year-old now looks primed for the big stage.
Wright therefore gets the nod over Oelschlägel as the final member of our Revierderby squad. The 23-year-old, Dortmund's third keeper, joined from the Bremen reserves over the summer. He was on the bench for the games against Bayern Munich and Mainz, but otherwise his contribution has been limited to the Regionalliga, where he has kept five clean sheets in 15 appearances.
So there you have it: bundesliga.com's bumper Revierderby squad, featuring no fewer than 20 Dortmund players and 15 of their Schalke counterparts! BVB may have edged it on paper – and current form makes them the favourites on Saturday – but as last season showed, anything can happen when Black and Yellow meets Royal Blue. It's not to be missed.