PREVIEW: Schalke unafraid of Dortmund

Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes has compared the build-up to the Revierderby with Borussia Dortmund to that ahead of a Champions League match.

The visitors take the lead...

The Royal Blues head to the Bundesliga champions and their near neighbours in the Ruhr for one of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures in Germany on Saturday.

There will not be an empty seat in the Westfalenstadion when more than 80,000 spectators watch the 141st edition of the contest.

"It's almost like ahead of a Champions League game," said Howedes as he entered the packed press conference room in Schalke's media centre today.

But the 24-year-old claims there will be no need to feel intimidated come matchday. Indeed, Schalke go into the game in third place, one place and two points ahead of their opponents.

"We have respect, but no fear," he said. "We can play with self-confidence. We are in a good league position and have played some good games.

"Our last home game (a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg) shows that we are on a par with Dortmund. If we play to our strengths, then we can get something out of it."

Leaders Bayern Munich travel to Fortuna Dusseldorf as they look for an eighth straight win, a new Bundesliga record from the start of a season.

"We are light years away from Bayern," Dusseldorf coach Norbert Meier said to Sport Bild magazine.

"This is a game like any other. We have concerns other than spending day and night worrying about Bayern."

Wolfsburg, champions in 2009, have slipped into the bottom two off the back of a dismal home record which they will be desperate to change against fellow strugglers Freiburg on Saturday.

Augsburg complete the picture at the bottom of the table and their Bavarian derby at Nurnberg is crucial for both teams, with the hosts having lost their last four games.

Elsewhere, forward Andre Schurrle faces his former club as Bayer Leverkusen host Mainz, high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt and Hannover lock horns at the Waldstadion, Werder Bremen host Borussia Monchengladbach, while Hamburg look to continue their recent revival against Stuttgart on Sunday.

Friday's Bundesliga fixture saw Hoffenheim and Greuther Furth battle to a thrilling 3-3 draw, a result which sees Furth move off the bottom of the table.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring in the eighth minute, but Zoltan Stieber levelled before half time.

Joselu put Hoffenheim in front for the second time in the 67th minute, but Edgar Prib replied in the 84th minute before Joselu thought he had earned the home team all three points five minutes later.

However, Germany Under-21 international Lasse Sobiech equalised again with the last touch of the game as Furth picked up their fifth point of the season on their travels.

Friday's Bundesliga Fixtures

Hoffenheim 3-3 Greuther Furth

Saturday's Bundesliga Fixtures

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke

Bayer Leverkusen vs Mainz

Wolfsburg vs Freiburg

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Hannover 

Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Bayern Munich

Werder Bremen vs Borussia Mönchengladbach

Sunday's Bundelsiga Fixtures

Nuremberg vs Augsburg

Hamburg vs Stuttgart



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