Teenage German midfielder Julian Draxler says he will be ready to play for Schalke against Borussia Dortmund in the Revierderby.
Draxler fractured his wrist during Schalke’s 2-2 draw against Montpellier in the Champions League a fortnight ago but has started training with a splint to shelter the injury, in the hope he could be available for the 35-kilometre trip to Dortmund.
If the 19-year-old gets on the pitch during Saturday’s match, he will most likely resume hostilities with Dormund’s Marco Reus for the first time since Draxler stamped on the then-Borussia Moenchengladbach player in 2011, earning a six-game suspension although the Schalke youngster is unfazed.
“He (Reus) will try and show the best for his team, as I will give the best for my team,” Draxler told German newspaper Bild.
Schalke head into the Revierderby in fourth spot in the Bundesliga standings with 14 points, just two ahead of Dortmund, who are fifth, and with both teams averaging over two goals per match this season, it looms as a stunning clash.
Last season’s second-division champions Greuther Furth will get Round 8 underway on Friday with their trip to Hoffenheim, while league-leaders Bayern Munich travel to another promoted club, Fortuna Dusseldorf, on Saturday.
Bayern have streaked ahead of the rest of the league, having won every game so far, and lead second-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, the third club to move up from the German second division, by five points.
Frankfurt host fifth-placed Hannover on Saturday, in the third match involving two teams in the top seven positions on the table.
If Bayern win again, the games involving Schalke, Dortmund, Frankfurt and Hannover will take on extra significance as they will know defeat could see them drop at least eight points behind the Bavarian club, which could be insurmountable even with three quarters of the season still to be played.
In other Saturday games, Wolfsburg host Freiburg, Leverkusen take on Mainz and Werder Bremen are up against Gladbach.
The clash between Nuremburg and Augsburg headlines the Sunday fixtures as both teams need a win to move away from the relegation zone, while Hamburg host Stuttgart.