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Borussia Dortmund will be looking to bounce back from their Champions League exit
Schalke have found form as they attempt to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga
This promises to be an absorbing game between two clubs that share a strong rivalry
The odds for Schalke vs Borussia Dortmund are provided by the FanDuel sportsbook, where you can bet $20 and get $200.
This could be a tight match, but we are backing the title contenders to edge it.
Back Borussia Dortmund to beat Schalke and over 2.5 goals in total. (+119)
For the first time in 2023, Borussia Dortmund will have to respond to adversity this weekend. After a run of 10 consecutive wins in all competitions, Edin Terzic’s side were finally halted in midweek, as they went down to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
A 2-0 defeat in west London was enough to overturn Dortmund’s 1-0 lead from the first leg, resulting in the German outfit’s elimination from the Champions League. Given that they were in control at the midway point of the tie, that is a huge blow.
However, Dortmund fans would settle for a European exit in the first knockout round if they went on to win their first Bundesliga title since 2012. And make no mistake, that is a distinct possibility. As things stand, they are level on points with Bayern Munich in the first place and only trail the champions on goal difference.
That is a result of their sensational form since German soccer resumed following World Cup 2022 and the winter break. Dortmund may have stumbled against Chelsea in Europe on Tuesday, but they have been flawless back home since the turn of the year.
As well as securing progression to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal by beating Bochum, Dortmund have won eight successive games in the Bundesliga to climb from sixth to second. At times in recent weeks, they appear to have swapped identities with Bayern: Dortmund have been the reliable winning machine, not the champions.
There is no match that BVB supporters want to win more than the Revierderby. Ever since the first meeting back in 1925, there has been a fierce rivalry between Schalke and Dortmund. Winning this weekend would not only give BVB local bragging rights, it would also boost their title hopes. There is no bigger incentive than that.
At one point, this looked like being a historically dismal season for Schalke. At the midway point of 2022/23, they had just nine points to their name - putting them on course to amass 18 in total, a tally that Dortmund surpassed in October.
An instant return to the 2.Bundesliga looked to be in the offing for the Royal Blues. That would have been a terrible outcome for perhaps the third-biggest club in Germany. When Schalke went down in 2021, it was supposed to be a historic aberration - not the first of two demotions in three years.
Schalke may still end up relegated, but they have at least given themselves a fighting chance of survival of late. They have not lost any of their last six matches, giving them a longer active unbeaten run than the likes of Bayern and RB Leipzig.
Under the guidance of Thomas Reis, who has finally got to grips with a squad he inherited from interim boss Matthias Kreutzer at the end of October, Schalke drew four consecutive encounters 0-0, before registering back-to-back victories over Stuttgart and Bochum.
The uptick in form came before it was too late. Schalke are still in the relegation zone, but they are no longer bottom and a draw this weekend could be enough to see them climb out of the bottom three: the four lowest-ranked sides in the division are all level on 19 points.
There is still a long way to go, but a record of one goal conceded in their last six matches is a magnificent record and gives Schalke something to build on. After the team’s recent improvements, the VELTINS-Arena is guaranteed to be bouncing on Saturday.
On their day, Borussia Dortmund are more than a match for anyone in the Bundesliga. The key question about any potential BVB title challenge is whether they have the ability to grind out wins even when they are not playing well.
So far in 2023, Terzic’s side have succeeded in that regard. Take last weekend’s 2-1 victory over RB Leipzig. Dortmund played some tremendous soccer in the first half, then had to show plenty of grit and resolve after the interval as Leipzig tried to force their way back into the game.
But after Dortmund hit a bump in the road at Chelsea on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see whether they can bounce back immediately. The first task will be to match Schalke for aggression, intensity, and fight since Reis’ players will be well up for this high-stakes encounter under the floodlights.
If they can do that, Dortmund’s superior quality should make the difference. Schalke have been defensively solid of late, but they may struggle to keep BVB’s talented forward line under wraps, especially as Terzic has plenty of options on the bench he can turn to if needed.
An away win and over 2.5 goals is the way to go for this one, as Dortmund aim to keep their title tilt on track.
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Teams: Schalke vs Borussia Dortmund
Location: VELTINS-Arena, Schalke, Germany.
Time: Mar. 11, 2023, 12.30 p.m. EST
How To Watch: ESPN+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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