These are tough days. Coming back with zero points from Mainz and drawing against rock bottom VfB Stuttgart at home sees Borussia Dortmund in an uncomfortable situation. With the derby at Schalke 04 ahead, Jürgen Klopp's boys need to win to keep in touch with the top of the table.
The 2-2 draw against Stuttgart showed two aspects of our gameplay at the moment. We made horrible mistakes in defence and were down 0-2 in the middle of the second half, but then really showed good spirit and scored two late goals to get away with at least one point. Nonetheless seven points out of five matches with already three matches played at home is far away from a good record. Especially the match in Mainz and against Stuttgart were disappointing. Surely we have a bunch of injured players, including key players like Hummels, Reus, Sahin and Gündogan, but we have still quality on the pitch. So the boys need to survive the next eight days with three matches and then have 14 days off due to international duties.
So Schalke 04 is waiting this coming weekend. The royal blues had a horrible start to the season. An early exit in DFB cup round one against third division side Dynamo Dresden and only one point out of the first three Bundesliga matches nearly saw coach Jens Keller lose his job. But the Gelsenkirchen based club recovered then. Despite missing as much as 10 (!) players, including many defenders, they earned a 1-1 against Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge. The good Champions League performance was followed by a 2-2 at home against Eintracht Frankfurt and a convincing 3-0 against Werder Bremen on the road.
A spicy detail is the fact that star midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng missed the Bremen trip due to a yellow-red card against Eintracht Frankfurt. And there are more than a few persons in and around the club that say that Schalke 04 might be better off without the injury-prone German-Ghanaian player. So it will be interesting to see whether Jens Keller will line up Boateng or not.
For the royal blue ones Ralf Fährmann will start between the posts, guarded by flat four with Uchida, youngster Ayhan, Neustädter and Aogo. Höger will start in holding midfield either with Boateng or with Neustädter (Matip then moving to central defence). Sam, Meyer and Choupo-Moting will back up striker Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar.
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp might have the one or other injured player back at hand. In front of goalie Weidenfeller Piszczek will play as right back. The right central defence position will either be taken by Sokratis or Subotic. Mats Hummels will return to the starting line up in central defence. Schmelzer might start as left back, though due to his not so good performance against VfB Stuttgart Erik Durm might take his place. In holding midfield Bender will start along with recovered Sebastian Kehl or Jojic. Großkreutz, Kagawa and Aubameyang will make up our attacking midfield while either Ramos or Immobile will be our sole striker.
FC Schalke 04: Fährmann - Uchida, Ayhan, Neustädter (Matip), Aogo - Boateng (Neustädter), Höger - Sam, Meyer, Choupo-Moting - Hunterlaar
Coach: Jens Keller
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Sokratis (Subotic), Hummels, Durm (Schmelzer) - Bender, Kehl (Jojic) - Aubameyang, Kagawa, Großkreutz - Ramos (Immobile)
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
Venue: Schalke-Arena Kick off: 3.30 pm CET, 27.09.2014