Both managers ramped up the pressure ahead of the Revierderby on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic said the derby “has to be won”, whilst Schalke boss Christian Gross said his side are desperate for the points with die Knappen languishing at the bottom of Bundesliga.
Strong words add flames to an already dangerous fire
Tomorrow will be the 158th derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke. A contest that goes all the way back to the start of the 20th century and which is regarded so seriously, supporters don’t even mention the name of the rival team.
There’s always enough riding on the Revierderby but both coaches have made it clear tomorrow’s contest is crucial in influencing their respective seasons.
Dortmund are six points off the Champions League spots after having a calamitous campaign in which they were supposed to challenge Bayern for the title.
The BlackYellows must win tomorrow or they could seriously be facing exclusion from next season’s Champions League.
“It’s the most emotional match you can play in. The fans want to see you give your all for this jersey. Everyone knows – The derby has to be won!”Edin Terzic
Schalke’s situation is even more perilous. The Gelsenkirchen outfit are rock bottom of Bundesliga nine points from safety having won a miserable one match in the league.
Die Knappen have been through four managers this season and are currently headed by former Tottenham Hotspurs boss Christian Gross.
Gross has not ignited a fight back by Schalke having drawn one of his opening seven games and losing the other six.
The English contingent
It’s likely former Man City and Watford player Jadon Sancho and former Birmingham City trainee Jude Bellingham will be involved in tomorrow’s derby.
Sancho has played in a number of Revierderbies whilst Bellingham could make his derby debut in what is described as the “ultimate power struggle in German football”.
Thomas Delaney rejoined the squad after missing out through injury. Thorgan Hazard has recently returned to training from a lengthy absence. The game is too soon for Roman Burki which means second choice keeper Marwin Hitz will continue in goal.
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Terzic: “It’s the most emotional match you can play in”
It was announced at the beginning of the week that Terzic will be replaced as head coach by Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marco Rose at the beginning of next season.
Terzic has had a tricky spell with Dortmund winning only one of his last six matches in the league, although the proud Borusse got a good result away to Sevilla in the Champions League midweek, 3-2.
Being a local Terzic is aware of what tomorrow’s game means to the supporters.
Terzic said: “It’s the most emotional match you can play in. The fans want to see you give your all for this jersey. Everyone knows – The derby has to be won! There is nothing better in the life of a Borusse than a derby victory.”
Sporting director Micheal Zorc: Focus on the game
Sporting director Michael Zorc, who played in many a Revierderby, tried to release some of the pressure put on the occasion saying nothing will be decided tomorrow.
Zorc said: “The table status is not decisive before this game. First and foremost one wants to win the thing. Nonetheless, we naturally want to go a little further up in the table. “
Gross: “We need the points more than Dortmund”
Chrisitan Gross has had a nightmare start as Schalke coach, gaining a measly one point of twenty-one.
The 66-year-old Swiss is aware both at how desperately Schalke need the points and how important tomorrow’s occasion is with the fans.
Gross said: “They are always special games between two big rivals. We are more desperate for the points than Dortmund so that we can avoid relegation, so it’s a match with a lot riding on it.
“Fans are always a part of derbies normally. They are always there with you. The players are really happy that the fans are right behind them.”
Schalke vs Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga Matchday 22, Saturday Feb 20th, KO 17:30 GMT.