Last Revierderby, Schalke just couldn’t get the ball in the net, but they have a secret weapon this time, and Dortmund isn’t ready for it.
It’s been a transitional year for Schalke, especially in the attack. Early in the season, the faith was still placed in Mark Uth and Guido Burgstaller, but the shift began around the time Die Knappen first faced Borussia Dortmund.
In that match, David Wagner ran with Rabbi Matondo and Burgstaller as dual strikers up top and as their season stats will give away, neither was able to score. Plenty of Royal Blues came close, but their two strikers, who have struggled on the year with their finishing, weren’t able to.
The striker situation has been a major problem for Schalke this year, but one good turn can’t be overlooked, and it happened just three days after the first Revierderby.
Schalke’s attack may be in a state of flux, but one guy isn’t—Benito Raman
That is, Benito Raman officially “arrived” with a brace against Arminia Bielefeld. From that point, Raman became the starting striker, the best finisher, and the constant threat for this Royal Blue attack, and he is a threat that Dortmund have not seen yet and, given their injuries, will be stressed to contend with.
It’s unclear who David Wagner will opt to start up top because he still has so many options to choose from, but the one person we know for sure will be out there—or at least should be out there—is Benito Raman.
Ever since he became a regular in the starting XI, his speed over the top and finishing ability has made every through ball an immediate threat to the opposition. He strikes quickly, he doesn’t need build-up, he can shake defenders all on his own. He can even score from distance if you want him too.
The thing is, Raman doesn’t take time before he shoots. He just fires. And more times than not, that serves him well and, at the very least, pressures the opposing backline. Pressure leads to mistakes, mistakes lead to goals. Raman wins again.
There have been plenty of matches when Raman didn’t score, too, but in those matches, this speed and aforementioned pressure was enough to land Raman a high rating for his efforts alone.
Dortmund hasn’t contended with Raman yet, and Raman hasn’t contended with Dortmund in a Revierderby yet. But given the striker situation Dortmund normally see coming at them in Royal Blue, they are going to have their hands full with Raman.