Focus on the match itself, not on the surroundings
Normally, an encounter between Borussia Dortmund and the biggest rival of the Ballspielverein does not need many words. It is the derby, one of the most prestigious matches (if not the most important) in the history of German football and packed with rivalry. On Tuesday evening, the two sides will clash for the 144th time in competitive matches. However, the derby always is a match which is talked about very often not only in terms of the competitive aspect on the field but also because of the happenings around the stadium. Therefore, the German media tend to overhype the match, especially because of the events that took place in Gelsenkirchen during the first leg last year when the away section of the stadium of blue-white was destroyed and pyros were thrown on the pitch. German media, politics and some "experts" claim that the next encounter between Borussia Dortmund and FC Scheisse 04 could be the last match with away fans. If situations like in Gelsenkirchen take place in Dortmund as well, they say, this could lead to the exclusion of the away supporters in the upcoming years. The focus of the media attention is not often on the pitch. However, we will try to stay on the sport in our warm up report because the 144th derby makes an interesting Bundesliga clash as well.
When the two teams met the last time at the end of 2013, Borussia was clearly the better team even though blue white had some good chances as well, Weidenfeller saved a penalty taken by Boateng just to name one. However, Borussia was eleven points ahead of the hated rival and even though we had to face some personal issues, the situation of both sides cannot be compared with the situation of today. 14 players are missing on both sides, Klopp stated during the press conference today that all these missing players could nearly play a good derby on their own. Borussia misses Gündogan, Subotic, Kuba, Schmelzer, Bender, GE has to replace Aogo, Santana, Fuchs, Farfan, Höwedes, Kirchhoff, Uchida, Clemens and Höger. The good news for black and yellow surely is that Reus (who was brought into the match in Hanover and scored) and Aubameyang (who could not make the squad on Saturday because of muscular problems) are two options for the match even though it is hard to tell if both (or one of them) will be able to compete for the entire 90 minutes). However, it is possible that Reus starts and Aubameyang replaces him after an hour or so.
The situation in the ranking has changed just like the personal situation. Like stated earlier, GE was not close to Dortmund (especially not at eye level like Horst Heldt stated before the season) before the first encounter but now they are the two teams fighting for the second place behind upcoming German champion Bayern Munich. This is due to two facts: 1) Borussia struggled several times this season, especially during some home matches (just like two weeks ago against Mönchengladbach) and left some points on the pitches of the Bundesliga. 2) Gelsenkirchen improved their performance, played a good second half of this season and therefore managed to shorten the lead of the Ballspielverein. It was not often over the last years that the derby also meant an encounter in which both teams face each other on nearly the same level. And of course, it is questionable if that would be the case if Borussia would not miss the amount of key players they have to replace at the moment. But this is only hypothetical, the fact of the matter is: It is eye to eye and an important match, not only because of the rivalry that is behind the derby but also because the winner takes the second place and in case of a Dortmund victory could extend the lead to four points. Therefore, it is not only about who is the number one squad in the Ruhr area but also who is the number one in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich. The importance of this match – on all levels – could not be underestimated.
Gelsenkirchen may present a very young offensive midfield line on Tuesday with the youngsters Max Meyer, Julian Draxler and Leon Goretzka. Of course, these very talented players can cause some trouble in Dortmund's defense but the question whether they are able to compete under the special atmosphere of the derby remains to be answered. Very often, the derby is not about who has the better team who has the most momentum or the best striker (even though both sides have very capable scorers with Robert Lewandowski and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar) but about who accepts the special circumstances of a derby and plays with the most passion, intensity and emotion. It is about who is willing to invest the most. It always is an open encounter in which every result seems to be possible. Therefore, let's hope that the outcome of the match will be positive for Borussia. A victory for the Ballspielverein would mean the second derby victory of the season which is one of the most important successes possible, a draw would be not too bad for the black and yellows but a defeat is something the supporters of Borussia are not willing to think about. And furthermore, even this article focused on the match itself and not on the surroundings around the derby: let's hope that the situation stays calm and nobody will get hurt so that no politician, no so-called expert and no authority could come to the conclusion that away supporters should be excluded from the derby. Therefore, the perfect result for tomorrow would see Borussia winning and everbody making it to the game and back safely.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Durm – Sahin, Kehl – Reus, Mkhitaryan, Großkreutz – Lewandowski
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
FC Scheisse 04: Fährmann – Hoogland, Ayhan, Matip, Kolasinac – Boateng, Neustädter – Goretzka, Meyer, Draxler – Huntelaar
Coach: Jens Keller
Referee: Meyer (Burgdorf)
Location: Westfalenstadion (will give place for "only" 77.600 fans, the capacity has been reduced due to security issues)