Borussia Dortmund will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing result in the Europa League in midweek when they take on FC Schalke 04 in the Revierderby at the Veltins Arena on Sunday.
BVB had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Liverpool in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final, handing the Premier League club the advantage to progress to the semi-finals when the second leg is played next week.
The head-to-head statistics shows this is traditionally a very even encounter, although Dortmund have score three goals in each of the last two meetings between the two teams and won both.
Dortmund are currently second in the Bundesliga standings, five points behind Bayern at the top and the gap could extend to eight by the time this match kicks off if the Bavarians beat Stuttgart on Saturday, meaning this game is a must-win for the visitors if they are to keep their title hopes alive.
Schalke are seventh on the table, but a single point separates them from Mönchengladbach in fourth, meaning they still have a very legitimate chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, but they will need to work on their consistency if they are to succeed.
The home side will be hoping their rivals will have one eye on their crucial Europa League tie against Liverpool next week in order to catch them off guard.
“We’re meeting our biggest rivals and will give everything to achieve a positive result,” Schalke defender Joel Matip, who will be joining Liverpool at the end of the season, said. “At the end of the day a win only gets you three points, but every one of us knows how significant a derby is.”
Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he would have to make changes with next week’s game in mind, as well as managing the fitness of his players to avoid unnecessary injuries.
“We absolutely want to win,” he said. “We also have to manage the physical condition [of the players] very carefully.
“There will be changes, but we will still put a good team out there nevertheless. Liverpool, Schalke, Liverpool – it not only causes a physical strain but also a level of emotional stress.
Leon Goretzka (shoulder) will miss out for Schalke, along with Matija Nastasic (Achilles), Marco Hoger (cruciate ligament) and Atsuto Uchida (knee).
Dortmund will be without Neven Subotic (thrombosis), while Ilkay Gundogan is almost back to full fitness following a foot injury and could make an appearance off the bench.
Tuchel: “Maybe it’s a good thing the derby is sandwiched between Liverpool. It might help us to approach the game with calmness.” #S04BVB
— Stefan Buczko (@bvbawesome) April 9, 2016