German football rivals head for showdown

2nd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 December 2004 , HAMBURG - Borussia Dortmund are in a shambles while Schalke 04 are flying high ahead of Sunday's derby meeting of the Bundesliga arch-rivals. Schalke rank second with eight wins in nine games and could dethrone Bayern Munich at the top if the current leaders lose the Bavarian derby in Nuremberg on Saturday. Dortmund, by contrast, languish in 13th place and could plunge into the drop zone if worse comes to worst on the weekend. The omens are clearly in favour of Schalke as they have not lo

3 December 2004

HAMBURG - Borussia Dortmund are in a shambles while Schalke 04 are flying high ahead of Sunday's derby meeting of the Bundesliga arch-rivals.

Schalke rank second with eight wins in nine games and could dethrone Bayern Munich at the top if the current leaders lose the Bavarian derby in Nuremberg on Saturday.

Dortmund, by contrast, languish in 13th place and could plunge into the drop zone if worse comes to worst on the weekend.

The omens are clearly in favour of Schalke as they have not lost against Dortmund in 13 competitive matches and were last defeated in Dortmund in 1998.

They also lead the overall list with 49 wins compared to 43 defeats and 32 draws.

But coach Ralf Rangnick warned: "We should not believe that a victory is a foregone conclusion.

"Dortmund could rebound very quickly, especially against Schalke. They are almost in a must-win situation."

"We must show that we are on a roll, like we did in our victories in Munich, Leverkusen and Hamburg. Firm on defence, deadly on the counter-attack," Rangnick said.

Schalke have all players on board and will be undeterred by Wednesday's 2-1 UEFA Cup defeat at Feyenoord Rotterdam because they are already qualified for the knockout stages.

Dortmund, by contrast, can't get anything right little more than two years after their last Bundesliga title.

The election of Reinhard Rauball as president of the financially troubled giants should have restored some peace, but the string of poor showings have created even more unrest among the team.

Lars Ricken was dropped from the derby squad and faces a hefty fine and a warning as well from the club after criticising coach Bert van Marwijk earlier in the week.

"His behaviour is not acceptable," said team manager Stefan Reuter.

Van Marwijk has implemented a zero-tolerance policy in the buildup to the match in front of 80,000 fans, with the entire city of Dortmund hoping for victory as well.

"Borussia is a part of the life here. I believe it (a turnaround) will come on Sunday," said former Dortmund striker Heiko Herrlich.

Munich are as confident as Schalke ahead of their trip to 12th-ranked Nuremberg, where they have won on the last two occasions.

"We are strong enough to win the league and cup double," vowed Munich's England midfielder Owen Hargreaves.

Also on Saturday, VfB Stuttgart host troubled VfL Bochum, SV Hamburg aim to continue their meteoric rise in the standings with a victory against fifth-placed Hanover 96, Hertha Berlin play Borussia Moenchengladbach, Arminia Bielefeld host bottom club Hansa Rostock and Bayer Leverkusen play ex-leaders VfL Wolfsburg.

The second Sunday game is Kaiserslautern vs. Mainz 05.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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