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Schalke v Dortmund - Saturday 14:30
The biggest match in Germany this weekend sees Schalke play host to local rivals Dortmund in the second Revierderby of the season. The first finished goalless – the third time in seven years that the fixture at Westfalenstadion has drawn a blank – but history suggests a repeat looks unlikely. The last 10 league derbies at the Veltins Arena have all seen both teams find the net, with 35 goals in total.
Schalke haven’t had a lot to shout about this season but they squeezed past Monchengladbach to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League and are chasing a third consecutive three points in the league as they looked to have found some momentum. Despite struggling for their best form they’ve been relatively tough to beat at home all season and, since defeat in their opening two matches here, have conceded just six times in 11 matches and never more than once. However, they’ve also struggled to find the net at the other end and only two of the top 13 heading into this round have scored fewer goals this term.
That in large part has been down to the long term injuries to their strikeforce. Breel Embolo was their biggest summer signing but a broken leg back in October means he’ll struggle to return before the end of the campaign, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has only recently returned from rupturing knee ligaments around the same time. With Franco Di Santo missing a large chunk through injury that meant they were without any strikers before Guido Burgstaller joined in January. The Austrian might not be top class but after a prolific first half of the season in the 2.Bundesliga he’s carried that form with him to grab six goals in his 12 appearances for Schalke and helped give them an extra dimension in attack.
Schalke’s improving form has seen them remain unbeaten in four games against the current top six since the start of February as they scored before half-time in all four, and in the previous couple of seasons they won half their 10 home matches against top-six finishers. Given Dortmund’s away record this upturn in form, and their longer term record at home, suggests Schalke have the chance of causing an upset.
Dortmund have won only four away matches all season and three of those have been against the current bottom six. Defeat at a woeful Darmstadt last month highlighted these away day blues and they’ve kept just one clean sheet in 13 road matches all season. However, few teams can match them going the other way and they’ve scored in each of their last 10 away matches with eight having at least three goals. With progression in both the DFB Pokal and Champions League last month they could start to pay less attention to the league but they’re only three points off Leipzig in second now and we expect them to want to build some momentum with a fully committed performance – particularly against rivals Schalke.
Ousmane Dembele should start after missing their last game and with Marco Reus almost permanently injured these days the French teenager has become a key attacking outlet. In his 14 starts this season Dortmund have picked up 31 points and scored 2.8 goals per game while in their other 11 matches they’ve managed just 15 points and 1.4 goals per game.
All three derbies since the start of last season have seen at least seven bookings and it’s likely to be a fiery occasion and it should also be entertaining. Schalke’s improvement going forward combined with Dortmund’s attacking nature points us towards Over 3.5 Goals as a standout bet in this match at 3.0. In terms of the outcome, the away side look too short and the Schalke-Draw Double Chance is a 1.91 shot. Eight of Dortmund’s last nine draws have been score-draws with three finishing 2-2 and that’s worth a small punt at 15.0.
Weekend Team News Analysis
Burnley v Spurs
Harry Kane (FW), Spurs
Spurs are unbeaten in the six matches Kane has missed since the start of last season but they’ve drawn half and are yet to score more than twice in any of those, including netting just three times in their trips to Bournemouth, West Brom and Middlesbrough. Burnley have been excellent at home this season and they can certainly frustrate Spurs here. Their last six home matches across all competitions have all had fewer than three goals as they've conceded just twice and Under 1.5 Goals is a 3.4 shot.
Hull v West Ham
Tom Huddlestone (CM), Hull
Huddlestone has been one of Hull’s best players this season and in the 10 matches he’s missed they’ve picked up just five points – they’ve averaged one point per game in his 19 appearances. Those 10 matches have seen them concede 26 times. West Ham have won three of their five trips to the current bottom five this season and at 3.1 look a good price to push Hull closer to the brink.
Roma v Empoli
Andrea Costa (CB) and Assane Diousse (DM), Empoli
Empoli are missing two of their most important defensive players due to suspensions. Since the start of last season they’ve conceded almost 50% more goals per game in the 26 matches Costa has missed compared to the 41 with him as they’ve picked up just 17 points in his absence. Their record is better when Diousse has been missing but he’s established himself as a first choice player over the last 20 games. Roma have a formidable home record and we fancy them to pile on the misery here and will take the -3 handicap at 4.5.
Last week's selections featured two 4.0 winners and our 42/1 treble was only ruined by Central Coast throwing away a lead! We don't need to get much closer so hopefully and this weekend's treble is nother juicy 41/1 shot!
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