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'Ghost games' & a blockbuster derby: German Bundesliga kicks off return of football as Europe watches on

‘Ghost games’ & a blockbuster derby: German Bundesliga kicks off return of football as Europe watches on

The German Bundesliga becomes Europe’s first major league to resume this weekend after a two-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s right, football returns for the first time since mid-March and it’s back with a Bundesliga bang as Borussia Dortmund host Schalke in a so-called ghost game which will provide a strange atmosphere for the biggest derby in Germany.

There won’t be any fans in attendance at Signal Iduna Park and it’s the same throughout the country with all this season’s remaining matches across the top two divisions to be played behind closed doors.

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Players have been told not to spit, celebrate in groups or even touch hands with teammates.

It’s not ideal, but after a two-month absence from the beautiful game, it is arguably better than nothing.

Here we preview Saturday’s eagerly-awaited Rivierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke: Saturday, KO 13:30 GMT

Dortmund: 2nd – P25 W15 D6 L4 PTS 51 – Form: WLWWWW

Schalke: 6th – P25 W9 D10 L6 PTS 37 – Form: DDDLLD

A jam-packed weekend of Bundesliga action gets underway with the Revierderby, contested between bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke — the two major clubs in the Ruhr region.

The Revierderby became a fierce tussle between the two regional rivals which cranked up a notch in 1969 when visiting Schalke players were bitten by a pitch-invading dog at BVB’s old Rote Erde stadium.

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Schalke make the 20-mile journey from Gelsenkirchen to Dortmund on Saturday looking to put a major dent in their rival’s hopes of claiming a first Bundesliga title since 2012.

Dortmund, however, currently boast two of Europe’s most exciting talents in England winger Jadon Sancho and Norweigan wonderkid Erling Halaand — who has 12 goals in his first 11 games for the club.

Reuters



Meanwhile, Sancho has previous form in the derby — having netted the winning goal in last season’s reverse fixture.

Schalke, coached by former Huddersfield boss David Wagner, can call on ex-Manchester City player Matija Nastasic and Rabbi Matondo — a Wales international — as well as Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny.

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The rest of Saturday’s action

Augsburg v Wolfsburg

Augsburg: 14th – P25 W7 D6 L12 – PTS 27 – Form: WLDLLL

Wolfsburg: 7th – P25 W9 D9 L7 – PTS 36 – Form: WDWWDD

Dusseldorf v Paderborn

Dusseldorf: 16th – P25 W5 D7 L13 – PTS 22 – Form: DDLWDD

Paderborn: 18th – P25 W4 D4 L17 – PTS 16 – Form: LDLLLL

Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin

Hoffenheim: 9th – P25 W10 D5 L10 – PTS 35 – Form: WLLDLD

Hertha Berlin: 13th – P25 W7 D7 L11 – PTS 28 – Form: DLWLDD

RP Leipzig v SC Freiburg

RB Leipzig: 3rd – P25 W14 D8 L3 – PTS – Form: DDWWDD

Freiburg: 8th – P25 W10 D6 L9 – PTS 36 – Form: LWDLLW

Frankfurt v Borussia Mönchengladbach

Frankfurt: 12th – P24 W8 D4 L12 – PTS 28 – Form: WDWLLL

Borussia Mönchengladbach: 4th – P25 W15 D4 L6 – PTS 49 – Form: DWDWLW

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‘Ghost games’ & a blockbuster derby: German Bundesliga kicks off return of football as Europe watches on

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