Schalke hosts Borussia Dortmund Saturday in what will be another fabulous edition of the Revierderby.
We'll start by talking about the league leading powerhouse that is Borussia Dortmund. BVB defeated Bayern Munich 1-0 in a really exciting match on Wednesday to push their lead over Bayern to six points. Dortmund haven't lost since September 18 and are on a 24 match unbeaten run. WOW. They lost three of their first six matches and haven't lost since.
Robert Lewandowski was thrown into the starting lineup at the beginning of the season when Lucas Barrios was injured at Copa America, and his performance this year has exceeded all expectations. He scored his 20th goal of the season in the victory against Bayern, and one more goal would make him BVB's highest goal scorer since Manfred Burgsmüller in the 1981-1982 season. He'll pester the Schalke centerback pairing and capitalize on any and every mistake the backline makes.
Schalke went to Nürnberg and were dealt one of their worst losses of the season in a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Der Club. Now that they're officially out of the title race --- Okay, they're not officially out of the title race yet, but they have to win all four remaining games and BVB have to lose all four. --- their sole focus is finishing in third place ahead of Borussia Mönchengladbach. They're currently four points ahead of Gladbach.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been on fire so far this season, and only Mario Gomez has scored more goals. If he and Raul can successfully draw Dortmund centerbacks Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic out of position, the other can sneak in behind and get a quality chance against BVB goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Who will start at centerback for Schalke? Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Sergio Escudero started midweek, but this weekend could see the return of Benedikt Höwedes and Christoph Metzelder to the position. I believe we could see a combination of Papadopoulos and Höwedes starting the match.
If you're Huub Stevens do you go with Jermaine Jones or Joel Matip as the defensive midfielder? That decision will likely decide the match as that man will be responsible for keeping an eye BVB's Shinji Kagawa at all times. Kagawa can change the entire match with one pass.
Do you want me to make a prediction? I feel like this one is very simple:
Schalke 0 - 2 Borussia Dortmund
Friday, April 13
Stuttgart vs Werder Bremen - 20:30 CET & 2:30PM EST
Saturday, April 14
Kaiserslautern vs Nürnberg- 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST
Wolfsburg vs Augsburg - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST
Schalke vs Borussia Dortmund - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST
Bayer Leverkusen vs Hertha Berlin - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST
Hamburg vs Hannover - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST
Bayern Munich vs Mainz - 18:30 CET & 12:30PM EST
Sunday, April 15
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Köln - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST
Freiburg vs Hoffenheim - 17:30 CET & 11:30AM EST