Schalke coach Huub Stevens hopes his team can underline their title credentials with a strong showing against Borussia Dortmund.
Stevens’ men, who are third in the Bundesliga, hold a two-point lead over their rivals ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash.
A loss for either side will see them fall well behind league leaders Bayern Munich early in the season, and Stevens said the encounter was a chance for his team to show what they were capable of.
“I hope that it will be a great match. We can show off our qualities as well – it’s not just about Borussia Dortmund,” Stevens said on Thursday.
“The last match at home showed what we are capable of (with a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg).
“Unfortunately, this game last season in Dortmund was not a good result for us, but we’ve showed that we also have many good qualities and we hope to be able to show them again on Saturday.”
Dortmund were victorious in both league meetings between the teams last season as they clinched their second straight Bundesliga crown.
Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes urged his team-mates to take the game to Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park.
“We played a very courageous match last year against Dortmund and we want to repeat that,” he said.
“I don’t think we have to hide, although Dortmund are a very good team and unbeaten at home over a long period of time.
“But we also have tremendous qualities in our team which we want to show on the field.”
Hoewedes, 24, said he was eagerly awaiting the Revierderby having started his professional career at Schalke.
“I’ve been here at Schalke for a long time and played in many derbies against Dortmund from which I can honestly say these matches are always something special, even when I think back to the matches in my youth,” he said.
“The fans are passionate for both teams. These matches have been very special for us even when growing up.
“The atmosphere has always been heated and we’ve celebrated some big wins in these derbies. So, for me personally, it is a match that I’m really looking forward to.”
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