Schalke vs Dortmund: The key, as always, is Amine Harit

Schalke has a lot going in their favor against Dortmund, but their top priority has to be getting Amine Hari involved right away.

It’s been the case for a while at Schalke that if Amine Harit thrives, Die Knappen thrive. If he doesn’t, they struggle. Which is part of what David Wagner is undoubtedly trying to alleviate, finding more players who can create consistent chances and produce consistent goals.

Amine Harit is the guy. He’s the centerpiece. He is our top goal threat, our top chance creator, he’s what makes this attack tick. And since no one else can, other teams often know that if they can shut down Harit, this attack operates with a limp for the rest of the match.

It’s no surprise, then, that the recent drought of Die Knappen has gone hand in hand with Harit’s own drought. He hasn’t produced a Bundesliga goal this calendar year, which is just unfathomable given how great of a start he had in 2019.

Amine Harit can make or break Schalke’s fortunes in the Revierderby… but he needs help

Dortmund is always a bit task, but for someone as dedicated to the club as Harit, he will be up to it if his teammates get him involved early and often. Which is another key—if this match is played too much in Schalke’s had, Harit will fade too early.

It will be up to the midfield to not just control possession, but move it forward. We don’t want Harit dropping deep to try to get involved. That isn’t where he thrives. We need Suat Serdar and Weston McKennie to get the ball deep and drive forward to the final third where Harit is at his best.

Otherwise, Harit gets frustrated by having too much ground to cover, too much harassment from opposing players and too little immediate threat to goal.

It’s also no surprise that Harit’s drought has coincided with the multitude of injuries to the Schalke midfield before the pause. Suat Serdar and Omar Mascarell both hit the injury list and unsurprisingly, Harit and the club suffered. It’s all a chain reaction. You rely on each piece of the machine to build forward and when those pieces start falling by the wayside, it gets harder to keep up with the other pieces that are now relying on voids that they have no choice but to try to fill themselves.

Harit will have his full complement of help behind him and ahead of him. Now it’s just up to him to make the most of it.