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BVB vs Schalke 04 at Westfalenstadion

sport live bundesligaBundesliga Borussia Dortmund vs FC Schalke 04, the Revierderby is without a doubt the most hotly-contested rivalry in German football.

As with most derbies, the roots of this rivalry are in the geographical proximity of the two clubs. Fewer than 30 kilometres separate the two working-class cities of Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen (where Schalke is based) in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The first derby was played on 3 May 1925, a 4-2 victory for Schalke, and ever since the two teams have incessantly battled for regional supremacy, continuing into the Bundesliga era in 1963.

Dortmund certainly began the stronger in the early years following the league's inception, but the Yellow-Black's relegation in 1972 ushered in a period of Schalke dominance which lasted the best part of a decade. Again Borussia bounced back, however, going on to win three Bundesliga titles, one Champions League and a Club World Cup during the 1990s.

In recent years, the two sides have frequently exchanged bragging rights. Schalke did enjoy a seven-year stretch without defeat until 2005, but Dortmund got their revenge by denying the Royal Blues the title in a decisive end-of-season match in 2007. Last term, Dortmund won 3-1 at the Veltins Arena and drew 0-0 at home en route to claiming the Bundesliga title, meaning the sides currently share a perfectly balanced head-to-head record in the league of 27 wins apiece and 24 draws.

Schalke got one up in some respects back in July as they claimed the Supercup, thanks in large part to goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann's heroics in the penalty shoot-out. Now the two teams meet for the first time in the 2011/12 Bundesliga campaign, each in the best of form (kick-off Saturday, 18:30 CET).

Champions BVB are riding the crest of a wave domestically, capping a run of six wins in their last seven league matches with last weekend's memorable 1-0 victory away to league leaders FC Bayern. A 2-1 defeat away to Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday has put a slight dampener on the mood at the Signal-Iduna-Park, but coach Jürgen Klopp is not worried his charges will suffer from any form of European hangover given the magnitude of Saturday's match.

"Ahead of a game like this, the adrenaline is literally flowing through your veins," said Klopp. "It's easy to regain your focus for a game against Schalke. It's the game of the season. Anyone who hasn't been involved before can be thankful they're going to experience it for the first time," continued the 43-year-old, perhaps referring to young Moritz Leitner, who should get a starting berth in defensive midfield after regular dynamo Sven Bender suffered a double jaw break against Arsenal.

After the difficulties of last season, Schalke have begun this season in similarly explosive fashion and currently rank third in the table thanks to five wins from their last seven matches. With no Europa League fixture during the week, the visitors will be hoping their additional freshness will prove a key advantage in the heat of the battle.

"Whether it's a good or a bad thing that BVB played in the Champions League during the week will only become clear after the match," said S04 supremo Huub Stevens. "It's not a bad thing to build up some rhythm and Dortmund are such a fit bunch that they can cope with competing on two fronts." The Dutchman has no new injury concerns to deal with but is again without winger Jefferson Farfan and captain Benedikt Höwedes (both knee), so Kyriakos Papadopoulos (19) and Joel Matip (20) are likely to form a youthful central defensive partnership in front of keeper Lars Unnerstall (21).

Indeed, Schalke will make the short trip east brimming with confidence, especially in light of the fact that Dortmund have won just won of the last twelve Revierderbies on home turf. "But we can't have that," explained BVB favourite Kevin Großkreutz. "Our fans are dying to see us win the derby in our own stadium."

Betting: Home13/20 - Draw11/4 - Away17/4

Possible line-ups:

BVB: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer - Leitner, Kehl - Götze, Kagawa, Großkreutz - Lewandowski

Schalke: Unnerstall - Uchida, Papadopoulos, Matip, Fuchs - Jones, Holtby - Baumjohann, Raul, Draxler - Huntelaar