Schalke: Establishing midfield dominance vs Dortmund just got easier

Schalke 04, Omar Mascarell (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Omar Mascarell (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Schalke 04 has a completely healthy midfield to go up against Dortmund with and, since they can’t say the same, things just got interesting.

With a battered defense and a questionable attack, Schalke 04 really needed their midfield to be in a place to win the battle in the upcoming Revierderby. Thankfully, they had a full return to health across the board, with Omar Mascarell, Suat Serdar, and Weston McKennie all available to form the midfield trifecta that has been so effective.

As with any Revierderby, any sort of establishable control can greatly swing the momentum one way or the other, and for Schalke, their strongest third of play looks to be the midfield.

But Dortmund has a strong midfield too. At least until recently, with Axel Witsel and Emre Can both picking up injuries during training and looking doubtful for the rivalry clash. Things just got a lot easier for Die Knappen.

Schalke doesn’t have to worry about Axel Witsel, if they were even worrying in the first place

Seeing as how most of any given match is handled in the midfield, whoever can establish dominance there and maintain a constant presence is in the better position to control the match. Schalke have been blessed with a tremendously balanced midfield all year.

Mascarell has pretty much never fallen short of his duties, both defensively and carrying the ball, while Weston McKennie is a ball hawk who doesn’t let any opponent get comfortable and Suat Serdar is a supremely underrated defensive help as well.

Even if Dortmund was at full health, Schalke would have gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Axel Witsel, but with him removed from the equation, the pressure turns to Thomas Delaney to hold down the midfield fort and while he’s a quality player, it has to be a Royal Blue advantage now.

This midfield’s major objective is to deny the transition into attack. Dortmund overloads the attack with so many goal threats, but if you force them to drop deeper by pressuring the black and yellow ball carriers, you negate that effectiveness and, hopefully, turn the momentum in favor of the good guys. Whatever happens from there is anyone’s guess but if the Schalke midfield can win over a depleted Dortmund midfield, then this match could go really good, really fast.

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With so much on the line in this match, every little victory helps in the build-up, and it’s definitely a victory that we don’t have to go up against Axel Witsel. Though… again, I have no doubts that Omar Mascarell could handle him.