Schalke Predicted Revierderby Starting XI: Rabbi Matondo will be key

Rabbi Matondo of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Rabbi Matondo of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 will face Borussia Dortmund on Saturday afternoon at the Signal Iduna Park. Here’s a look at the projected starting XI for the Royal Blues.

Last week, FC Schalke 04 showed signs of life against TSG Hoffenheim, as they rebounded from blowout losses to RB Leipzig and 1. FC Köln in the Bundesliga. This weekend’s game against Borussia Dortmund will be much more difficult, but David Wagner’s new system has shown that it can frustrate opponents of Bayern Munich and BVB-level quality.

Schalke will be without Ozan Kabak for the foreseeable future and Omar Mascarell for the rest of the season. Suat Serdar is also unlikely to play against Dortmund, meaning a 5-4-1 will be the formation of choice with Amine Harit as something of a “Super Sub” for the visitors.

Here’s how we can expect Die Knappen to line up at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

GK Markus Schubert

Capable of developing into a true star in between the sticks, Markus Schubert could be the team’s most important player this week. Schubert won’t have to deal with the Dortmund fans, so that should help his nerves in this derby game. The only time he looked uncertain this season was against Bayern at the Allianz Arena.

More from Release The Knappen

LB Bastian Oczipka

Schalke could play Bastian Oczipka in more of a central role, since he has been part of a back three before. However, Oczipka is too good at crossing and has shown a real drive getting forward lately, so it would be a mistake not to have him play as the wing back in a back five.

CB Matija Nastasic

He’ll have his hands full against Erling Haaland, but Matija Nastasic is indeed one of the Bundesliga’s better center backs.

CB Jean-Clair Todibo

One of the most exciting players on Schalke, Jean-Clair Todibo is definitely a player to watch in the Revierderby this weekend. Over the past several weeks, there hasn’t been a more impactful player on the Royal Blues than Todibo, whose active defending and under-appreciated technical quality could make him one of the X-Factors in this rivalry matchup.

CB Timo Becker

Timo Becker will be more than just an extra body in defense for Schalke. He’s proven to be a competent, hard-working defender. A natural right back, Becker’s ability to shift and cover for Jonjoe Kenny should allow the Everton loanee more attacking freedom.

RB Jonjoe Kenny

Another one of the key players for Schalke against Dortmund, Jonjoe Kenny has been itching for a breakout performance. Recovered from an injury earlier in the Rückrunde, Kenny vs. Raphael Guerreiro could be a pivotal matchup for these two bitter rivals. Kenny’s athletic ability and strength could give BVB massive issues on that right flank, and we all know how much Kenny loves a good derby.

CM Weston McKennie

Schalke’s second-best player right now behind Todibo, Weston McKennie is coming off a majestic performance against TSG Hoffenheim. The young center midfielder’s work rate, intelligent reading of the game, and ability to create chances will all be highlighted in a difficult matchup against Axel Witsel and a motivated Emre Can.

CM Alessandro Schöpf

Alessandro Schöpf is not a natural center midfielder, so he could be a weakness exploited by the intelligent Witsel and the relentless Can. Schöpf always works hard, though, so the key will be his ability to find teammates with accurate passes.

LM Rabbi Matondo

Rabbi Matondo might be Schalke’s most important player, especially since Benito Raman hasn’t scored since mid-December in the Bundesliga. If Raman’s woes in front of goal continue and Guido Burgstaller doesn’t suddenly turn things around, it could be up to Matondo, who flashed serious danger in the first Revierderby, to grab this opportunity forcefully.

RW/FW Benito Raman

Raman and Matondo are both more than happy – and capable – of doing the dirty work out wide for Schalke, but they’ll also be expected to get on the end of chances that Guido Burgstaller creates as a traditional target man. Raman isn’t short on ability, and this could be the big match he needs to awaken again.

Next. 5 players on Schalke to watch in the Revierderby. dark

ST Guido Burgstaller

Burgstaller’s tenacity and work ethic will be important today, and it will be interesting to see if the Dortmund center backs can handle his physicality. While the Austrian striker won’t threaten Dortmund with technical ability, agility, pace, or the type of offside-trap-beating runs off the ball that Matondo provided in the first Revierderby, he’ll help his teammates in a different way. And his ability to hold-up play could be a difference-maker for Schalke.