Schalke coach David Wagner admitting he is getting impatient waiting for what is sure to be an emotional Revierderby against his former employers Borussia Dortmund.
Wagner experienced the fixture as a Schalke player and then as an interested observer while spending five years as coach of Borussia Dortmund II, but Saturday will be his first time in the dugout for the prestigious fixture.
“For me there is extreme anticipation,” Wagner said. “I am just as excited as everyone else for this game. We cannot wait and want the derby to finally start.”
Wagner has made an encouraging start in his first season as Schalke boss and his side go into the game in seventh place, only two points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach and one behind Dortmund in the congested Bundesliga table.
And while the special atmosphere of a derby is not something Wagner wants to ignore, he hopes it will not stop his players doing what has worked for them so well so far.
“It is important that you focus on the essentials and try to separate yourself from the euphoria and the emotion,” he said.
“The emotion is incredibly important but it is just as important to focus.”
Wagner’s only injury concern for the match is American Weston McKennie, who missed last week’s loss to Hoffenheim with a muscle injury and will be assessed. Suat Serdar is fit again after also missing that match.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre is sweating on the fitness of captain Marco Reus after the Germany international missed the midweek 2-0 defeat to Inter Milan in the Champions League, but the Swiss believes there is good cause for optimism.
“We’ll see if he can play on Saturday, but he’s doing much better and there is a good chance he’ll play,” Favre said.
However, Marcel Schmelzer and Paco Alcacer have been ruled out of the match.
Favre has warned of a tough test ahead for his side, who had drawn three straight Bundesliga matches before a 1-0 win over Monchengladbach last weekend.
“Schalke have found stability,” he said. “They are very good at pressing, they are extremely athletic and they run strongly.”
But if Schalke run well, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has promised his side will go a step further.
“I expect that you will see from our team that they know the meaning of this game – of course for the table, but completely especially for our fans,” he said.
“I expect you to see that they really want to win the game. If Schalke runs one metre, we’ll run one metre more. We want to earn this win with every fibre in the body.”
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