Thomas Tuchel says it “feels like a cup final” when Borussia Dortmund clash with local rivals Schalke.
Dortmund go into the Ruhr derby on Saturday hampered by a series of injuries to key players, with Andre Schurrle, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raphael Guerreiro among those that missed Wednesday’s shootout victory over Union Berlin in DFB Pokal, while Marco Reus is yet to play this season due to a groin issue.
Tuchel revealed that few of the absentees will return to fitness in time to face Schalke, as his side attempt to end a three-game winless run in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund are sixth in the table and have yet to win a league game in October, leaving Tuchel determined to earn a positive result against his team’s local rivals at Signal Iduna Park.
“When you’re on the sidelines, there certainly feels something different about it. It feels like a cup final,” Tuchel told a media conference.
“Dortmund against Schalke is the [biggest] derby in Germany. I am glad to witness it so close up.
“We know the situation in the table, and we are of course not happy about recent results.
“Schalke play very compact, they are a real team. We must show the necessary bite to find a solution and push Schalke [back] on the defensive.”
According to the coach, Schurrle should be fit enough to return to the squad, but the game will come too soon for Guerreiro.
Tuchel will give top scorer Aubameyang another day to prove he is fit enough to play a role after suffering from a calf problem.
“On Thursday, no team training was possible for Aubameyang. It [the muscle] is super tight. If today he trains, he can play tomorrow,” he said.