Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke: Predictions & Odds
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- The Bundesliga is the first major soccer league in Europe to resume its season, and a blockbuster fixture kicks things off this weekend
- Dortmund is challenging for the title, while arch-rival Schalke is targeting Europa League qualification
- Defense will probably win out as both teams slowly get back into the rhythm of competitive action
|What:||Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke|
|Where:||Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany|
|When:||Saturday, 16 May 2020, 09:30 AM EST|
|How to watch:||Stream live on bet365 NJ, Fox Sports, Fox Deportes|
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The 2019/20 Bundesliga season gets back under way with a bang on Saturday, as Borussia Dortmund and Schalke renew hostilities in the latest edition of the Revierderby. Dortmund goes into the game as the favorite but much of its home advantage will be lost with the absence of fans at Signal Iduna Park.
The campaign resumes with Dortmund just four points behind reigning champion Bayern Munich at the top of the table. Victory here would close the gap to one point ahead of Bayern’s own return to action against Union Berlin on Sunday.
Schalke is well equipped to be a stubborn opponent, though, and David Wagner’s side will look to frustrate its chief adversary and nick a goal on the counter-attack. Schalke is currently sixth in the standings but by no means safe in the final Europa League qualification spot, with Wolfsburg and Freiburg just a point adrift and Hoffenheim a further point back.
Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke Odds
|Total number of goals||Odds|
Odds taken May 15 from DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Dortmund has been a prolific scorer this term, finding the back of the net 68 times in 25 games – an average of 2.72 per match. With a forward line containing the varied talents of Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, and Erling Braut Haaland, manager Lucien Favre has ample firepower to call upon.
However, Schalke is a tough nut to crack and four of its last six matches featured fewer than 2.5 goals. They were in poor form before the campaign was put on hold, but the break-in play has given them a chance to regroup and work on a strategy of containment for Saturday’s trip across the Ruhr.
Schalke Will Look to Shut the Game Down and Keep Things Tight
In the return fixture in November, Schalke and Dortmund drew 0-0 at the Veltins-Arena. It was the 11th scoreless stalemate between the two – no other Bundesliga fixture has ever finished without a goal as often as the hotly-contested Revierderby.
Schalke was actually the better team on that occasion, creating several scoring chances and largely holding Dortmund at arm’s length. Their clean sheet was one of seven they have kept in the Bundesliga this season. On another nine occasions, they have conceded just a solitary goal.
Wagner would no doubt be delighted to add another game to the above tally. He has been flexible with his formations this season, opting for variations such as 3-4-1-2, 4-4-2 diamond, and 5-4-1 in Schalke’s most recent fixtures.
The latter could be on display again here. Schalke will look to pack the center of the pitch and force Dortmund to forage out wide. Wagner will back his center-halves to deal with crosses into the box and instruct his team to break forward quickly when possession changes hands.
Dortmund’s Attack Is Excellent but Will not Be Running at Full Capacity
With Marco Reus out injured, Dortmund have four contenders for their three attacking spots: Haaland, Sancho, Hazard, Reus, and Julian Brandt. Any combination would pose a significant threat to Schalke – Dortmund have failed to score in only two Bundesliga matches this term.
However, Dortmund’s attacking will not regain its full coherence immediately. Favre will instruct his team to play on the front foot and make a quick start, but the hosts will probably have to remain patient as they attempt to break down the Royal Blues.
Sancho could be key to their attacking endeavors, particularly if Schalke leaves space out wide as expected. The England international has speed and trickery in abundance, and he may be relied upon to produce a moment of magic if Dortmund’s collective efforts bear little fruit.
Tired Legs and Minds Could Be a Factor After a Pause in Play
Neither Dortmund nor Schalke have played a competitive fixture since the middle of March, and that will undoubtedly have an effect on proceedings. Dortmund’s possible lack of attacking fluency has been covered above, but there will also be reduced match sharpness across the board.
Players have of course been keeping themselves fit over the last nine weeks, but it is impossible to recreate the rigors of competitive, 90-minute soccer on a treadmill. There is also a psychological as well as a physical element to consider. Players are better able to dig into their energy reserves when they are being roared on by 80,000 passionate fans, which will not be the case on Saturday.
It is easier to defend than attack when bodies are minds grow tired, which is another reason why Schalke may succeed in keeping the score down. Moreover, if Dortmund are 1-0 up heading into the closing stages, they will be more likely than usual to protect their lead than push for a second goal.
Take the under here – attacking inspiration may be in relatively short supply given the lengthy lay-off and Schalke’s likely game plan.