The one and only Derby
The countdown has just started! In the eyes of every Borussia supporter the next match is in everyone's mind:
On Friday Feb, 20th, Borussia will play in Gelsenkirchen or should I even write „Schalke"? To be honest, speaking or writing this name is a taboo for many Borussia supporters! Let me find a compromise: I will write "Sch...e"!
But before going into details let's have a closer look at this derby! Why it is the most important derby not only in our "Rhein/Ruhrgebiet" area and importantly, why there is such a strong rivalry between Borussia and "Sch...e?
I think it's impossible to give you a completely satisfying answer - so this is an attempt to explain it!
Of course in Germany's football scene there are also a lot of other derbies. For example: In the north you find the derby Hamburg - Bremen, in the Southwest Stuttgart - Karlsruhe or Frankfurt - Offenbach and let's not forget the Bavarian derby in the South: Bayern München - München 1860! Yes, these all are also important derbies! But currently they are a little out of focus because they are either not playing in the same division or there is not so much public interest! Excuse me, Hamburg, Bremen, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe supporters - but that's the truth!
In German Bundesliga there is absolutely no substitute for the derbies between Sch...e and Dortmund! Even the Bundesliga matches against Bochum, which is the direct neighbouring city for Sch...e and Dortmund, are for both clubs the so called "little derbies"! Paradox? Definitely not! Let me try to give you some background information about this and let's go back into older and younger history!
Sch...e - the name is from a suburb in Gelsenkirchen - was founded in 1904 and the club had most of it's successes in it's blue and white colours in the 30's and 40's. Last German championship was 51 years ago in 1958! Anyone here to remember?! In the beginning of the 70'several Sch...e football players were among members of other teams deeply involved in manipulation of Bundesliga-matches - a very dark chapter in German football history! Successes in later years were winning the National cup three times (Sorry, I forgot when) and the UEFA cup. The year of the last mentioned title is easy to remember: It was 1997, the same year when Borussia won the Champions league one European class higher!
Now it would be easy to continue with listing of all of Borussia's triumphs and titles but that's not the goal of these lines. You can find enough of that stuff in our section "About BVB"!
Surely, one reason for the serious rivalry between these two clubs is the title match within our region "Rhein-/Ruhrgebiet", an area with a population of approximately 10 million people. And, to be honest, other "Rhein-/Ruhrgebiet"-clubs e.g. Bochum or even Cologne don't play such a major role in football as Borussia or the blue and white club from the Gelsenkirchen suburb. But supporters of these both clubs cannot only be found in "Rhein-/Ruhrgebiet", you will find them all over Germany. And there is one-eye-catching fact worth remarking: Comparing the number of members, Sch..ke has more than 70.000 members, but our Borussia is below 40.000. Why? I think you don't need a survey to find it out. The answer is simple and you can explain it with only one word: "Heritage"! Luckily it's not the world cultural heritage, but it has to do with some kind of culture -in the eyes of Borussia supporters - some strange kind of culture: Sch...e's successes in the first half of the 20th century impressed thousands of people all over Germany during that time. And the effect was and still is: If the grand father was a Sch...e supporter or member, then the chance is very high that sons, daughters and grandchildren will follow his steps on this curious way. Certainly for Borussia supporters the story is often the same, but successes of Borussia were decades later and by then the number of Sch..ke members increased and increased! In the eyes of a Dortmund supporter an ominous development, only Bayern München, with 150.000 members, has a higher number of - let me say - "misguided" football fans!
But even hardcore Sch...e supporters must recognize that German championships a long long time ago and a high number of members is not all that great! So a lot of years during the last decades were affected by Scha...e's jealousy of Borussia's successes, temporary boosted by Sch...'s relegations from the first division and a lot of Sch...e - internal problems. I will not go into details but various presidents, managers and football players leave their mark on Sch...e's chronicle, not always at the best for the club. Current rumours about high debts in spite of mighty Sch...e-sponsor Gazprom and their outsold Veltins Arena nearly every matchday hit the headlines more and more. And in the current season Sch...'s highly ambitious target to qualify for the champions league seems to be more illusionary. Currently on matchday 21, Sch...e is in 9th position, behind Borussia in 8th
When Borussia's massive financial crisis peaked in 2004/05 many Sch...e supporters operated as self-appointed stock exchange experts. Falling stock prices after Borussia went public were commentated on with malicious joy. Borussia's simultaneous decline in the league and Sch...'s temporary rise in the Bundesliga and the European cup opened a new area of loudmouth behaviour combined with blue and white presumption. Don't misunderstand - this is not a final classification of all Sch...e supporters! There are also a lot of Sch...e fans rating their own sporting and financial situation while keeping a cool head.
But not only the majority of Borussia friends agree in their opinion that the number of over euphoric and unobjective Sch...e supporters is much higher than in any other Bundesliga team! I will always remember the words of a colleague who is a passionate Sch...e supporter in the beginning of 2007 (I must say, with the exception of football, we cooperate well in other things). His words were representative of the attitude of most Sch...e fans:
"We'll kick you into the 2nd division and we will win the title! And it all will happen on matchday in your Dortmund stadium!"
We all know how things finally ended in May 2007! Borussia won 2:0 on the penultimate matchday and that was the end of all Sch...e dreams and also the end of a potential nightmare for Borussia! After that match many Sch...e supporters, players and so on complained about missing loyality and missing "Ruhrgebiet feeling" when they looked at celebrating Dortmund fans, but let's get serious: How can they call for "solidarity in Ruhrgebiet", when some weeks before, their greatest dream was to drop Borussia into 2nd division? Next year Sch...e had it's so-called revenge and won 4:1 in their arena and also 3:2 in Dortmund. We also saw in the first leg this season the unforgettable 3:3 in our Westfalenstadion after Sch...e' gained a lead of 3:0!
For the match this Friday starting positions for both clubs are not the very best: While Borussia achieved only a draw against Cottbus on previous matchday, Schalke lost the "little derby" against Bochum 1:2. The red card for Lee from the Cottbus match will be a serious handicap for Borussia. Marc Schmelzer could be a suitable substitute, a comeback of the long injured Leonardo Dede will be presumably too early and too risky. For Sch...e next Friday could be something like a doomsday! The drop out in the European Cup, missing team spirit and discipline, financial problems, a hacked and manipulated club homepage and loud criticism on management and trainer resulted in gloom and a bad mood. A defeat against archenemy Borussia Dortmund would be the straw that breaks the camel's back!
So there's enough pressure in the next derby and we must keep in mind that Borussia won only once in Sch...e's 2001 opened Veltins Arena: In 2005 Sebastian Kehl and Lars Ricken scored the goals for Borussia's 2:1! So it's high time for the second victory! Borussia's supporters are in urgent need of that because the result of every derby is also decisive for the normal course of life in offices, stores, factory halls or elsewhere! Who will be the derby winner for the next half year or who can taunt the club supporters of the losing team?
Do it Borussia -it's your turn to win the derby!