Saturday will see arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 go head-to-head for the 155th time. In their pre-match press conference, both Lucien Favre and Michael Zorc discussed the special significance of the Ruhr derby.
Let's start with the good news: ''With Marco Reus, we'll still have to wait and see whether or not he'll be able to make an appearance on Saturday, but he's certainly feeling a lot better now. There's a good chance that he'll play,'' said Head Coach Lucien Favre when asked about the fitness of the club captain, who missed Wednesday night's 2-0 defeat in Milan due to illness. The bad news relates to Marcel Schmelzer and Paco Alcacer: neither player has made a sufficient recovery from injury to be able to play any part in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday.
Everyone at the club is well-aware of the special significance the derby holds for the city of Dortmund. Nevertheless, Sporting Director Michael Zorc, who knows the fixture well from his playing days, felt it necessary to emphasise the importance of the task at hand for the Black & Yellows: ''I expect our team to show everyone that they know just how much this game means. Obviously from the perspective of the league table, but especially for the fans. I expect them to demonstrate that they want to win this game at any cost. For every metre that Schalke runs, I expect us to run one more. We want to see the team push for the win with every fibre of their being.''
Felix Brych to referee the match
Asked about Saturday's opponents and their strengths, Favre stated: ''They've found a certain stability. They're very good at pressing, extremely athletic across the park and can run all day.'' FC Schalke are currently placed seventh in the table with 14 points. The overall head-to-head record between the two sides is extremely close. Of the 94 derbies played in the Bundesliga, the Black & Yellows have won 33, one ahead of the Royal Blues with 32, with the remaining 29 matches ending in draws.
Referee Felix Brych will officiate on Saturday afternoon. He will be assisted on the touchlines by Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp. The fourth official will be Sven Jablonski, while Günter Perl and Christian Leicher will take on the video assistant referee duties.