The 154th derby is fast approaching, and the excitement has reached fever pitch. Over 1,800 BVB fans attended the public training session at the youth stadium on Thursday morning to show their support ahead of the Ruhr derby with Schalke. "It's really amazing to see," said Thomas Delaney after the session. The Danish midfield maestro's goal in the reverse fixture paved the way for an emotional derby triumph, and he is hoping there will be more celebrations to come at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday (kick-off 15:30 CET).
A glance at the table would suggest that Borussia Dortmund are heavy favourites to do the double over Schalke for the first time since the 2011/12 campaign. The Black & Yellows, who currently occupy second spot, are 42 points ahead of their rivals – the biggest gap there has ever been in the run-up to a derby. "Of course we're the favourites," said Delaney. "But that doesn't mean it'll be easy. The table doesn't mean much before such games."
That view is shared by Lucien Favre, who has observed Schalke closely. "They pose a danger when they win the ball back and from set-pieces. Their recent games have been close," explained the head coach, before outlining his hopes for Saturday. "We want to play very well and win the derby. That's clear!"
Hopes for Wolf
However, the Swiss tactician remains without full-backs Achraf Hakimi and Dan-Axel Zagadou, who are still recovering from injuries. A decision as to whether Lukasz Piszczek or Marius Wolf will be able to deputise at right full-back will be made on Friday. Wolf, who unluckily rolled his ankle in the recent 4-0 victory in Freiburg, did not take part in team training on Thursday but completed a running session on his own. Piszczek, meanwhile, was out on the training ground with his team-mates but Favre explained that he was unlikely to be ready to start the derby.
The match will be officiated by Fifa referee Felix Zwayer. His assistants on the touchline will be Thorsten Schiffner and Marco Achmüller, with Harm Osmers as the fourth official and Guido Winkmann as the video assistant referee.