Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund: Vote for YOUR Revierderby dream team!
Borussia Dortmund and Schalke treated the world to one of the greatest matches in Bundesliga history when the Royal Blues completed one of sport’s greatest ever comebacks after being 4-0 down at half-time at the Signal Iduna Park. This week the arch-rivals meet for another Revierderby at the Veltins-Arena with the winner having one hand on second place.
Ahead of Sunday’s fixture, bundesliga.com is giving you the chance to vote for your Revierderby dream team. All 11 positions are up for grabs, and it’s your votes that will determine the final combined Schalke-Dortmund XI, which we will present to you ahead of the big match.
Here you can take a look at the candidates for all 11 positions, as well as cast your vote in the poll below!
Vote for your combined XI below!
There’s essentially a two-horse race to be named goalkeeper in our Revierderby XI, between Schalke’s Ralf Fährmann and Dortmund’s Roman Bürki. A pure product of the Schalke youth academy, Fährmann was promoted to club captain by Domenico Tedesco last summer, and has returned the favour by providing solid foundations for his side’s UEFA Champions League push. The Royal Blues have the joint second-best defence in the Bundesliga, thanks in no small part to Fährmann winning nearly 87 per cent of his one-on-ones. The 29-year-old, who has played every single minute in the league, has made a total of 82 saves and boasts a league-high 11 clean sheets, having conceded 33 goals.
To give you an idea of just how evenly matched the two stoppers are, check out Bürki’s stats for Dortmund: 83 saves, 11 clean sheets, 35 goals conceded. The Switzerland international may have won slightly fewer one-on-ones than Fährmann – around 83 per cent – but his distribution is better, with a successful pass rate of 73.2 per cent to the Schalke man’s 64.2.
Veteran Roman Weidenfeller has only made a single Bundesliga appearance this season, but it was a memorable one — the remarkable 4-4 draw in last November’s Revierderby — while Schalke’s 21-year-old Alexander Nübel has only played a minute in the top flight, back in May 2016.
The loss of Lukasz Piszczek to a knee injury in October coincided with a serious downturn in fortunes for Dortmund: an eight-game winless run which put paid to Peter Bosz’s stint at the helm. The Poland right-back provides both defensive stability and attacking impetus for BVB, who have only lost a single game this season with him in the side.
Meanwhile, the versatile Jeremy Toljan has slotted in at both right and left-back since his summer arrival from Hoffenheim, contributing two assists to Piszczek’s three and popping up with a goal against Freiburg. On the other hand, World Cup-winning defender Erik Durm has seen his career blighted by injuries in recent years, and has failed to make a single appearance for Dortmund this season.
Thilo Kehrer will have fond memories of last season’s Revierderby at the Veltins Arena, where he fired in his first Bundesliga goal to rescue a 1-1 draw for the Royal Blues. The Germany U21 international is one of the most flexible players in the Schalke squad, having been played in no fewer than eight positions since coming through the club’s youth ranks. Now more commonly deployed as part of Tedesco’s three-man defence, he has won 55 per cent of his challenges and completed 87 per cent of his passes, as well as providing a goal and an assist.
Naldo has been a rock at the heart of Schalke’s defence in 2017/18, playing every single minute in the league and staking a claim as perhaps their standout performer of the season. As well as winning almost three-quarters of his challenges and completing 90 per cent of his passes, the Brazilian colossus (6’6”) is the Bundesliga’s top-scoring defender with six goals, including the equaliser in that breathless 4-4 draw.
Benjamin Stambouli has also featured regularly alongside Naldo in central defence, notching up two assists and helping the Royal Blues to build from the back with characteristic composure and accuracy.
Turkey international Ömer Toprak forms one of the Bundesliga’s most trusted centre-back partnerships with Sokratis, and so it should perhaps come as no surprise that Dortmund have failed to win six of the seven league games he has missed this term – including the infamous 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich. BVB’s Mr. Reliable has only committed 18 fouls in 22 appearances and boasts a staggering 93 per cent pass completion rate.
Paris Saint-Germain youth product Dan-Axel Zagadou began the season at left-back but has hardly featured under Peter Stöger, although at just 18 the hulking Frenchman looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
Sokratis has been Dortmund’s most used outfield player this season, playing in all but three Bundesliga outings. A natural leader, the Greece international has taken over the captain’s armband in Marcel Schmelzer’s absence — and, as well as winning over two-thirds of his challenges, he has found the back of the net in victories over Cologne and Mainz.
He and Ömer Toprak have also taken January signing Manuel Akanji under their wing. The Switzerland international is not quite the finished article — he, like most of the BVB team, struggled against Bayern Munich — but at just 22 he represents Dortmund’s future. Blessed with power, pace and vision, the former Basel man looks set to blossom into one of the Bundesliga’s best centre-backs.
Along with Naldo, Matija Nastasic has been an indispensable member of Schalke’s formidable backline this term, although the Serbia international will play no part in the Revierderby after picking up a fifth yellow card against Hamburg. Strong in the tackle and calm under pressure, the former Manchester City man was also suspended for the 2-1 loss to Bayern on Matchday 22, and his absence will no doubt be keenly felt at the Veltins Arena.
He will likely be replaced by Thilo Kehrer, given that Pablo Insua has barely featured all season. The Spanish centre-back became Tedesco’s first signing when he joined from Deportivo La Coruna last summer, but in October he was diagnosed with a heart condition that threatened to spell the end of his career. Fortunately, the 24-year-old has made a full recovery, and finally celebrated his Bundesliga debut against Wolfsburg on Matchday 27.
It hasn’t been the happiest of seasons for Dortmund’s left-backs, who have both had to endure spells on the sidelines with injury. Captain Marcel Schmelzer, a player who’s been at the club since 2005 and practically bleeds black and yellow, has been limited to 15 Bundesliga appearances — while European champion Raphael Guerreiro has only played eight league games, including one since the start of 2018. The recurring absence of such a wealth of experience and talent perhaps goes some way to explaining BVB’s up-and-down campaign, although Schmelzer at least appears to be back at full fitness for what promises to be a decisive run-in.
Schalke’s Abdul Baba Rahman also knows a thing or two about injury woes, having been out since tearing his cruciate ligament at the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2017. The Ghana international, currently on loan from Chelsea, is hoping to return in the coming weeks as Schalke try to secure Champions League football and a place in the DFB Cup final at the expense of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bastian Oczipka, who traded the Eagles for the Royal Blues last summer, has been one of Tedesco’s most used outfield players this season. Generally stationed a little higher up the pitch, he has come up with 52 crosses and completed nearly 80 per cent of his passes.
Schalke boast two of the Bundesliga’s brightest young midfield talents in the shape of Max Meyer and Weston McKennie. Meyer, who honed his technique playing futsal as a boy, has been on the Schalke books since 2009 and provides a vital link between defence and attack. Destined for a place in the Germany midfield, the 22-year-old has made 24 league appearances this season, setting the tempo with a superb pass completion rate of almost 92 per cent, a league high for a midfielder.
McKennie, meanwhile, is one of a host of American stars adding some star-spangled glamour to the German top flight. The 19-year-old has made 17 Bundesliga appearances this term, despite suffering a knee injury in early 2018, and his positional flexibility and boundless energy have made him one of the most useful weapons in Tedesco’s arsenal.
Even as he approaches the age of 30, Nuri Sahin remains the Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer, having netted against Nuremberg at just 17 years and 82 days. While he may have lost half a yard of pace over the years, the Turkey international still has the same lightning-quick speed of thought, as he showed with a masterful performance in last week’s 3-0 win over Stuttgart.
Sahin has contributed two goals and two assists this season, and boasts the same 88 per cent pass completion rate as teammate Julian Weigl. The Germany international thrives in a deeper role than Sahin, sitting just in front of the defence and acting as BVB’s midfield metronome. While he may have lost a touch of his influence this season, the 22-year-old remains one of the biggest talents of his generation, and his stunning first Bundesliga goal — in a 6-1 thrashing of Borussia Mönchengladbach — was one of the highlights of the campaign.
Leon Goretzka told RevierSport this week that he will “miss the derby” once he completes his move from Schalke to Bayern Munich in the summer, and the feeling is surely mutual. At just 22, the Germany international has emerged as one of the most talented midfielders of his generation, which no doubt prompted the record champions to secure his services in January. Goretzka’s blend of elegance, skill and power have helped him notch four goals and two assists this season despite various injury problems, and there’s no telling how high he can go at the Allianz Arena.
His teammate Nabil Bentaleb has been limited to just 13 Bundesliga appearances this term, due to a recurring groin problem, but the Algeria international has still managed to contribute four goals and three assists. The 23-year-old’s return to full fitness just happened to coincide with a five-game winning run for Domenico Tedesco’s side, and he looks set to play an increasingly vital role once Goretzka has traded royal blue for red. Technically gifted and boasting a killer left foot — check out his Goal of the Season winner from 2016/17 — the former Tottenham Hotspur man is already a firm fan favourite at the Veltins Arena.
Mahmoud Dahoud has had a somewhat mixed season since his summer transfer from Borussia Mönchengladbach to Dortmund, but there is no denying his exceptional talent as a playmaker. The Germany U21 international has been on fire in recent weeks, starting the last five games and making the most of the opportunity to showcase his unique range of passing skills. As well as racking up four assists in his 21 league appearances, the 22-year-old has completed 86 per cent of his passes.
While Gonzalo Castro has set a similar tempo in his 19 Bundesliga outings this term, the former man has lost a touch of his influence of old. A regular starter under Peter Bosz, he has faced greater competition in the Peter Stöger era, not helped by an ankle injury sustained in December — although he has still provided two assists and remains an important voice in the dressing room.
Schalke’s Daniel Caligiuri and Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic have both staked a claim to be considered the chief creative force in their respective midfields this season. Caligiuri has definitely been one of the Royal Blues’ unsung heroes, chipping in with no fewer than five goals and seven assists in 28 outings. Having only missed one game, the 30-year-old has emerged as one of Domenico Tedesco’s most influential lieutenants, and his underrated performances have gone a long way towards putting Schalke on the brink of UEFA Champions League qualification.
As perhaps the most talented American player of his generation, Pulisic has been unable to sneak under the radar in quite the same way, but the 19-year-old has still been one of Dortmund’s standout performers in a topsy-turvy season. With four goals and five assists, he has had a hand in more goals than any other BVB player, while his excellent showing in the 3-0 win over Stuttgart was a timely reminder that he represents a bright future for the Black-and-Yellows.
Not unlike Dortmund teammate Mario Götze, Andre Schürrle has been looking to rediscover his best form as he bids to join Germany at the FIFA World Cup this summer. Injuries have limited the 27-year-old to just 14 Bundesliga appearances this season, but he has nevertheless come up with a goal, four assists and an 80 per cent pass completion rate. Determined, like Götze, not to be remembered for that goal in the 2014 World Cup final, Schürrle has been steadily improving in recent weeks, and currently looks more likely to get the nod from Joachim Löw than his clubmate.
Meanwhile, it has been a long road back for Schalke’s Breel Embolo after he suffered a broken ankle and multiple ligament tears against Augsburg in October 2016. The Switzerland international returned to action nearly a year later, in September 2017, and has been used sparingly by Tedesco, making just eight league starts. The 21-year-old has grabbed a couple of goals — against Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim — and will no doubt get a chance to star for Die Nati in Russia after scoring in their recent friendly win over Panama.
Götze guaranteed himself a place in the history books with the winning goal at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but the Dortmund midfielder has spent much of the intervening time trying to prove he’s no one-trick pony. At his best, few could match the 25-year-old attacking midfielder for skill, technique and innovation — just watch that goal against Argentina again — but the media spotlight and a series of injuries have taken their toll over the years. With two goals and two assists in 19 Bundesliga games this term, Götze is by no means certain of a place at the 2018 World Cup, but you can guarantee that BVB’s ‘once-in-a-century’ talent will fight tooth and nail to earn his spot in Russia.
Shinji Kagawa is also hoping to feature at the summer showpiece after being left out of November’s friendlies against Brazil and Belgium by Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who has just been replaced by Akira Nishino. The 29-year-old looked to be hitting form when he suffered an ankle injury in February, and has notched five goals and an assist in his 18 Bundesliga appearances this season.
Amine Harit has been one of the revelations of this Bundesliga season, and the Morocco international has already won over the Schalke faithful after his sensational performance in November’s Revierderby. With the Royal Blues 4-0 down, the 20-year-old came off the bench and turned the game on its head, putting his body on the line to provide the attacking impetus that allowed the visitors to snatch an improbable draw. A tricky attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, Harit has scored three and set up three more, and looks well on his way to becoming a genuine Bundesliga star.
Marko Pjaca has only made six league appearances since joining on loan from Juventus in January, but that has been sufficient for the Croatia international to make a splash. Schalke fans will no doubt be keen to see more of the 22-year-old forward after he scored the opener against Hannover and grabbed a vital winner at home to Hertha Berlin.
Reus was out until Matchday 22 recovering from the knee ligament injury he sustained in last season’s DFB Cup final triumph, but the fact he makes this list at all is testament to the earth-moving impact he had when he returned. The three goals he scored in his first four games back were worth five points to Dortmund, but he also clearly had an uplifting effect on the whole team, whose confidence seemed buoyed by the simple fact of having their iconic forward on the pitch again. Back after another short spell on the sidelines, the Germany international will no doubt play a key role in the final straight.
Jadon Sancho’s first season in the Bundesliga was always going to be an acid test of the 18-year-old’s ability, and though he remains a work in progress, his seven league appearances — just three of which were starts — hinted at immense promise.
Injury has been the bug-bear of Andrey Yarmolenko’s first campaign in Germany — the Ukrainian has played just three Rückrunde matches — gave a positive first impression in his 16 league games, scoring three times.
His former Dynamo Kiev cohort, Yevhen Konoplyanka, has punctuated a mixed season with highlights, notably his opening day goal in the win over RB Leipzig, and his central role in the incredible 4-4 draw with Dortmund on Matchday 13.
KAPOW! WHACK! Holy huge impact, Batsman! Not so much the ‘Caped Crusader’ but the ‘Studded Saviour’, Michy Batshuayi stepped brilliantly into the boots of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The winter departure for Arsenal has barely been missed with Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea, plundering seven goals in his first nine BVB matches. Imagine the damage Dortmund might have inflicted on opponents had Marco ‘Robin’ Reus had been fully fit for the Rückrunde…
The Belgium international is the stand-out performer, but with six goals in his first ten Bundesliga appearances since his summer move from Freiburg, Maximilian Philipp was on course for a bumper 2017/18 tally before a knee injury brutally curtailed his contribution.
Franco di Santo and Guido Burgstaller have scored 13 of Schalke’s 45 goals this season, and their battering ram displays have been part of the bedrock on which the Royal Blues’ push for second place has been founded. Burgstaller, in his first full top-flight season, has struck ten times, and with three goals in his last five league outings, could be the man to help ensure Domenico Tedesco’s men finish with their noses in front of their Ruhr Valley rivals come the season’s end.