Afternoon all and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of Saturday's Bundesliga action as Germany's top flight resumes. The league has been at a standstill for more than two months due to the coronavirus outbreak, but there is a full set of fixtures this weekend. Be sure to stay tuned for the action right here!
head of sport Jochen Schneider recently told Sky in Germany
that the "eyes of the world" will be watching the Bundesliga this weekend, and it is difficult to argue with that statement. Football in Germany has been suspended since March due to the worldwide pandemic, but the authorities have given the green light for the action to resume after lockdown measures were eased. Football is back.
The Netherlands and France have already decided to end their seasons early, but there is a feeling that the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A will all resume in the coming weeks. The matches will, of course, be taking place behind closed doors, and it will be fascinating to see how much of an impact that has in the coming weeks, starting with today's fixtures.
Our main focus this afternoon will be on Dortmund's home clash against Schalke, but there are another four games taking place at the same time. Indeed, Augsburg
will welcome Wolfsburg
, Paderborn travel to Fortuna Dusseldorf
welcome Hertha Berlin
and RB Leipzig
. Five huge, huge matches taking place on this famous afternoon.
Saturday's late contest sees Eintracht Frankfurt take on Borussia Monchengladbach, before FC Koln and Mainz 05 lock horns tomorrow afternoon. The penultimate match in this set of fixtures sees the champions Bayern Munich travel to Union Berlin ahead of Monday's clash between Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen. They are all huge, huge football matches.
Right, let's have a look at some team news for the Revierderby. Both Dortmund and Schalke had some injury concerns heading into the contest, but the lineups are in, and the standout news sees Jadon Sancho only start on the bench for the home side...
DORTMUND: Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji; Hakimi, Dahoud, Delaney, Guerreiro; Reyna, Brandt; Haaland
SCHALKE: Schubert; Kenny, Todibo, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka; Caligiuri, McKennie, Serdar, Harit; Raman
As mentioned, Sancho is only on the bench for Dortmund this afternoon with 17-year-old Giovanni Reyna making his first start for the club. Erling Braut Haaland will lead the attack, but BVB are without Marco Reus, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Axel Witsel, Emre Can and Nico Schulz through injury. What an afternoon for Reyna, who has made eight league appearances off the bench this season.
Thorgan Hazard has also, somewhat surprisingly, been left out of the home side's XI, with Julian Brandt expected to play further forward, supporting Reyna and Haaland in attack. Manuel Ajanki is the player to benefit from Zagadou's absence at the back.
As for Schalke, Omar Mascarell and Ozan Kabak are both absent for the derby, while Benjamin Stambouli also misses out. Salif Sane features for the first time since suffering a knee injury in November, though, which is a huge boost for the visitors this afternoon.
Suat Serdar has missed four of Schalke's last five league matches through injury, but the 23-year-old, who has scored seven times this season, is fit to start in the middle of the park. On-loan Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny also features for the visitors, while Benito Raman will lead the line with support from Amine Harit and Daniel Caligiuri.
BVB will have to do without their incredibly vocal home support with the match being played behind closed doors, but a huge three points are still an offer. Dortmund bowed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage with a 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in their last fixture on March 11, but the German outfit had been in excellent league form before play was postponed.
Indeed, Favre's side have won their last four against Eintracht Frankfurt, Werder Bremen, Freiburg and Borussia Monchengladbach to rise into second spot, just four points behind league leaders Bayern Munich. They will be looking to move to within one point of Bayern this afternoon, although BVB have only won one of their last eight Bundesliga games against Schalke.
Schalke, meanwhile, played out a 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim in their last Bundesliga fixture on March 7. David Wagner's side have not actually triumphed in the league since overcoming Gladbach on January 17 but are still sixth in the table, one point clear of seventh-placed Wolfsburg.
Schalke have only actually lost six of their 25 league matches this season, which is a number only bettered by the top three RB Leipzig
, Dortmund and Bayern. They have also picked up 16 points on the road this term, which is far from a poor return, but BVB have the best home record in the Bundesliga this season, winning nine and drawing three of their 12 matches.
Elsewhere, Timo Werner starts for Leipzig against Freiburg. The Germany international continues to be linked with a move away from his Bundesliga club, but he is in the XI this afternoon. Leipzig are only a point off second-placed Dortmund ahead of kickoff!
There is also a huge game taking place in Dusseldorf this afternoon as Fortuna Dusseldorf, who are 16th in the table, take on bottom-placed Paderborn. A full preview of that match, which also kicks off at 2.30pm UK time, can be found here
Seventh-placed Wolfsburg are in action away to 14th-placed Augsburg, meanwhile, and Wolfsburg will be hoping that Dortmund can do them a favour at Signal Iduna Park this afternoon as Schalke are currently only one point ahead of them in the table.
Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin will also lock horns today, and the former could actually move above Schalke this afternoon if results go their way. Just a reminder that our main focus will be on Dortmund against Schalke, but we will be looking at the games across the board.
Both sets of players continue their warm-ups on the field, but they will soon head back in as kickoff is little under 15 minutes away. It will be fascinating to see what type of tempo is present in this match as both sides have been out of action for some time.
Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford is tuning in for the Bundesliga action this afternoon. Could the Premier League follow suit in the coming weeks?
There will be plenty of eyes on a certain Erling Braut Haaland this afternoon; the 19-year-old has scored 12 times in 11 appearances since arriving at Dortmund in January, and Schalke will surely have to keep the teenager quiet if they are to pick up a positive result here.
Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford is tuning in this afternoon for the return of the Bundesliga, could the Premier League follow suit in the coming weeks?
Under normal circumstances, the atmosphere inside this particular stadium would be incredible at this stage of the build-up. There are still a huge three points on offer this afternoon, though, and both teams will be determined to pick up an important win.
Little over five minutes until kickoff at Signal Iduna Park and across the grounds in the Bundesliga. Just a reminder that there are five games starting at 2.30pm UK time, with third-placed RB Leipzig also in action at home to Freiburg. Football is back!
This will become a normal sight in the coming weeks...
Both sets of players have taken to the field at Signal Iduna Park. It is a huge game and that should not be downplayed despite the circumstances surrounding the contest. No supporters, no atmosphere, but the Bundesliga is incredibly back on May 16.
KICKOFF: Dortmund kick things off against Schalke...
KICKOFF: ... all four other matches have also kicked off in the Bundesliga. Here we go!
Dortmund have been in charge of the possession in the opening couple of minutes here, with Schalke dropping slightly deeper, which is not much of a surprise. Not too much happening elsewhere, meanwhile, with all five matches in their very early stages.
Just a few signs of Schalke settling into a pattern here with Serdar and McKennie both getting on the ball. Dortmund are pressing high up the field, though, with Brandt busy in the opening four minutes. It must be said that the pitch at Signal Iduna Park is immaculate.
Raman breaks into the Dortmund box and looks to work the space for a shot, but Hummels is across to make the block. Not an awful lot happening in the opening five minutes, and the same can also be said for the other four matches - no goals to report.
Haaland drives his way into the Schalke box after working some space, but Schubert is out quickly and just about does enough to clear the danger. Good from Haaland there.
Schalke have a free kick in a dangerous area as Harit, who had shown wonderful feet in a tight area, is brought to the ground. Caligiuri is over the set piece for the visitors...
... straight into the wall from Schalke's number 18.
Brandt finds a little bit of space through the middle for Dortmund and the pass is on from Hazard, but Schalke's goalkeeper is again out to make the claim. The hosts are on the front foot at the moment, although the match has not really taken off thus far.
Brandt delivers a dangerous free kick into the Schalke box, but Haaland's low attempt is blocked by Sane. The offside flag was actually raised at a very late moment, meaning that it was always going to be a free kick to the visitors. Still goalless here.
Hakimi breaks down the right for the home side and delivers a wonderful cross into the Schalke box, but Todibo does excellently to clear under pressure from Haaland.
Not too much happening elsewhere at the moment, with all five matches in the Bundesliga goalless. The first goal, if there is one, will be huge and remembered for some time. At the moment, though, every side is just feeling their way back in.
It is going to take a bit of time to get used to playing in an empty stadium, but the pace of the match is quite good, with Guerreiro just breaking into a dangerous position. We are still waiting for the first real chance, however, and that is the case for the majority of games across the board this afternoon. Everything has gone pretty smoothly thus far, though.
Kenny, who is on loan at Schalke from Everton, has been pretty bright in the early exchanges, breaking forward at every opportunity. The number 20 has just been searched out by Harit, but the pass was too strong, and Dortmund can resume from a goal kick.
Better from Dortmund in the last couple of minutes as they work the ball across the pitch. Haaland has been very, very lively as he waits on the final defender, but Schalke's three-man defence of Todibo, Sane and Nastasic has been impressive in the first 21 minutes.
Dortmund win a free kick in a dangerous area as Serdar fouls Hazard...
... Hakimi's effort is straight into the wall. Not great from the on-loan right-back.
SHOT! Leipzig continue to force the issue against Freiburg in their clash, but the score is still goalless. We are actually still waiting for the first goal in this afternoon's Bundesliga action. Dortmund have just come close, though, with Haaland hitting the side-netting after finding himself free at the far post. Haaland is a huge threat for the home side.
CHANCE! Big chance for the visitors as Caligiuri finds himself free inside the Dortmund box, but the number 18 fires straight at the feet of Burki. Easily the game's best moment.
GOAL! DORTMUND 1-0 SCHALKE (HAALAND)
GOAL! Breakthrough! Dortmund open the scoring in the 29th minute of the contest as Haaland turns a brilliant Hazard cross into the far corner of the net. Stunning finish from the 19-year-old, who has been the standout player in the first 29 minutes of this contest.
Haaland has now scored 13 times in 12 appearances for BVB since arriving in January; the cross from Hazard was excellent, but the finish from the striker was sensational.
GOAL! LEIPZIG 0-1 FREIBIRG (GULDE, 34 MIN)
Huge moment in Leipzig's game against Freiburg, with the visitors taking the lead. Manuel Gulde was the goalscorer for Freiburg, who lead in the latter stages of the first period. Leipzig are third in the table but are currently behind on home soil.
Not too much happening for Schalke here as the home side continue to dominate the ball. Haaland's movement is absolutely sensational, and he looks like scoring every time that he breaks into a dangerous position. Little over 10 minutes of the first period left.
CHANCE! Another big chance for the home side as Hakimi finds Guerreiro in a dangerous position inside the Schalke box, but the left-back fires wide of the post!
Still just the two goals in the Bundesliga this afternoon, with Dortmund leading Schalke here while Freiburg are ahead against Leipzig. Augsburg against Wolfsburg, Dusseldorf against Paderborn and Hoffenheim against Hertha Berlin are still goalless.
Schalke are really struggling to keep hold of the ball at the moment as Dortmund continue to press high ip the field. Hakimi again breaks into the away side's box, but the defender's shot is blocked by former Manchester City centre-back Nastasic.
SHOT! Wonderful piece of defending from Sane to get in the way of a strike from Guerreiro, who unleashed a powerful effort from distance. Dortmund are chasing a second goal here.
GOAL! AUGSBURG 0-1 WOLFSBURG (STEFFEN, 44 MIN)
Wolfsburg have taken the lead in the 44th minute of their clash with Augsburg, and it is Steffen with the goal as the 28-year-old midfielder heads home from close range.
Harit wants a penalty after going down under a challenge from Dahoud, but the referee is not interested. Again it was smart work from Kenny down the right for the visitors.
GOAL! DORTMUND 2-0 SCHALKE (GUERREIRO)
GOAL! Dortmund double their lead in the latter stages of the first half as Brandt delivers a fine pass into Guerreiro, who breaks into the Schalke box before drilling one into the far corner of the net - wonderful finish from the defender, and the hosts lead 2-0 here.
We are into first-half stoppage time at Signal Iduna Park.
HALF TIME: DORTMUND 2-0 SCHALKE
So there we have it; the referee brings the first half to a close with Dortmund leading 2-0 courtesy of goals from Haaland and Guerreiro. In truth, it has been a very tough assignment for Schalke, who have struggled to deal with BVB's quick movement.
Here are the rest of the half-time scores in the Bundesliga:
Augsburg 0-1 Wolfsburg
Dusseldorf 0-0 Schalke
Hoffenheim 0-0 Hertha Berlin
RB Leipzig 0-1 Freiburg
As it stands, Dortmund will be moving to within one point of leaders Bayern in the table, while the bad news gets worse for Schalke as Wolfsburg and Freiburg are both winning, meaning that Wagner's side, as it stands, have dropped from sixth to eighth in the table.
It was always going to be a tough game for both sides, but Schalke have just not been able to get up to speed with Dortmund, who have threatened all over the pitch. It will be fascinating to see whether Sancho appears in the second 45 minutes of this contest.
Elsewhere, Leipzig could do with some inspiration from Werner, who continues to be linked with a move to Liverpool. It has been a frustrating first 45 minutes for the Germany international, and Freiburg have a 1-0 lead at the interval of their contest.
The action will soon be resuming across the board, and will there be a goal between Dusseldorf and Paderborn? Both teams in desperate need of the points, but it is still goalless in Dusseldorf. Hoffenheim and Hertha, meanwhile, are also still level at 0-0.
Both sets of players are back on the field, and it would be interesting to hear what Wagner had to say at the interval. Schalke have just not been in this match; will that change in the second period? It appears that the visitors have made two changes here.
KICKOFF: Schalke resume the action at Signal Iduna Park...
... SCHALKE SUBS! Burgstaller and Matondo have replaced Raman and Todibo.
SAVE! Decent save from Burki to keep out a strike from Serdar after good work from Schalke, who have moved the ball better in the early exchanges of the second period here.
As it stands, Dortmund are moving to within one point of leaders Bayern in the table, while Schalke are dropping to eighth as Wolfsburg and Freiburg are both ahead.
GOAL! DORTMUND 3-0 SCHALKE (HAZARD)
GOAL! Dortmund make it 3-0 on the afternoon as a fast counter-attack ends with Brandt finding Hazard, who thumps the ball past the goalkeeper from just outside the box. Not too sure about the Schalke stopper there, but it was a powerful strike from the Belgian.
Dortmund have been too quick and too slick for Schalke this afternoon. The home side might be playing without their fans, but they have been, by some distance, the superior outfit thus far. Three goals already and it is difficult to imagine that BVB are finished here.
Smart work from the Dortmund goalkeeper to deal with a cross from Harit, who had managed to break into a dangerous position. Schalke need some inspiration from somewhere.
YELLOW CARD! Delaney (Dortmund) is booked for a late challenge on Serdar.
GOAL! AUGSBURG 1-1 WOLFSBURG (JEDVAJ, 54 MIN)
Augsburg level the scores against Wolfsburg as Jedvaj heads home from close range. The hosts had been having plenty of positive moments and are now all square!
Haaland again breaks into the Schalke box before delivering a low cross towards Hazard, but Sane just about does enough to make the clearance. Still 3-0 to the home side.
Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining, and Schalke are having some decent moments in attack. Burgstaller has just worked some space outside the box before drilling towards goal, but it was always comfortable for Burki between the sticks.
GOAL! HOFFENHEIM 0-1 HERTHA BERLIN (AKPOGUMA OG, 59 MIN)
Hertha have taken the lead away to Hoffenheim with an own goal from Kevin Akpoguma sending the visitors ahead. Hertha are rising into 11th spot in the table as it stands!
GOAL! HOFFENHEIM 0-2 HERTHA BERLIN (IBISEVIC, 60 MIN)
Wow! It is a quick fire double from Hertha as Vedad Ibisevic registers on the hour mark to send them 2-0 ahead away to Hoffenheim, who are now staring at a defeat.
Back to the action at Signal Iduna Park and not too much is happening at the moment. Schalke are having more of the ball, but the away side are struggling to create much of note.
GOAL! DORTMUND 4-0 SCHALKE (GUERREIRO)
GOAL! Guerreiro has his second and Dortmund have their fourth as the left-back plays a one-two with Haaland before producing a stunning finish, clipping the ball into the back of the net with the outside of his foot. Wonderful, wonderful goal from the home side.
This has been a seriously dominant performance from Haaland, who are moving to within one point of leaders Bayern in the table. Elsewhere, Leipzig are behind at home to Freiburg, while Dusseldorf and Paderborn are still playing out a goalless draw.
GOAL! AUGSBURG 2-1 WOLFSBURG (UDUOKHAI, 67 MIN)
Augsburg have turned things around at home to Wolfsburg and now lead 2-1, with Felix Uduokhai powering a header into the back of the net. The fact that Wolfsburg are losing is perhaps the only good news for Schalke this afternoon.
Little over 20 minutes of the second period remaining, and Dortmund are clearly not finished here as they continue to move the ball in the final third of the field.
DORTMUND SUB! Delaney is replaced by Balerdi for the home side.
McKennie hits one from distance as Schalke look to strike back, but the midfielder's effort is blocked. The visitors have a free kick in a dangerous position, though, as Burgstaller is brought to the ground by Dahoud. Decent opportunity here...
... Caligiuri delivers a dangerous cross towards the far post, but Balerdi does well to make the clearance. Excellent work from the Argentine youngster, who has only just come on.
DISALLOWED GOAL! Augsburg's goal for 2-1 was actually disallowed, meaning that they are still level at 1-1 with Wolfsburg. It was an incredibly late call following a VAR check. VAR is back!
YELLOW CARD! Piszczek (Dortmund) picks up a yellow card for handball.
GOAL! HOFFENHEIM 0-3 HERTHA (CUNHA, 74 MIN)
Hertha are running away with it away to Hoffenheim, with Matheus Cunha making it 3-0 in the 74th minute of the contest. Hertha are moving into 11th as things stand.
SCHALKE SUB! Miranda replaces Caliguiri for the away side.
GOAL! LEIPZIG 1-1 FREIBURG (POULSEN, 77 MIN)
Leipzig level the scores against Freiburg with Poulsen finding the back of the net with a smart finish. Big, big moment for the team currently sitting third in the Bundesliga.
DORTMUND SUB! Sancho replaces Hazard for the home side.
Sancho is finally on for Dortmund, and the England international will surely be keen to make his point in the final 10 minutes. The 20-year-old continues to be linked with a move away from Signal Iduna Park, with Manchester United thought to be the favourites.
Augsburg 1-1 Wolfsburg
Dortmund 4-0 Schalke
Dusseldorf 0-0 Paderborn
Hoffenheim 0-3 Hertha
Leipzig 1-1 Freiburg
Little over five minutes of the second period remaining, and Dortmund still lead 4-0. Schalke will be desperate for the final whistle, but the fact that they are back on the field must be a huge positive for the club. Things have gone pretty smoothly across the board.
Smart work from Matondo as the youngster drives into the Dortmund box, but he loses control of the ball at the vital moment, allowing Hakimi to make the clearance.
YELLOW CARD! Matondo (Schalke) is booked for his rash challenge on Hakimi.
DORTMUND SUBS! Gotze and Schmelzer replace Dahoud and Guerreiro.
SCHALKE SUB! Becker replaces Kenny for the visitors.
Matondo works some space before unleashing a strike from distance, but his attempt was always missing the crossbar. Not long left at Signal Iduna Park this afternoon.
GOAL! AUGSBURG 1-2 WOLFSBURG (GINCZEK, 91 MIN)
Wolfsburg appear to have stolen all three points away to Augsburg at the death with Daniel Ginczek netting in the 91st minute of the contest. Huge moment in that game!
FULL TIME: DORTMUND 4-0 SCHALKE
So there we have it; the referee brings the second period to a close with Dortmund recording a comprehensive 4-0 win over Schalke. Guerreiro scored twice for BVB, while Haaland Hazard were also on the scoresheet for Favre's team, who have moved to within one point of leaders Bayern.
GOAL! LEIPZIG 1-2 FREIBURG (KOCH, 93 MIN)
Oh my word! Freiburg look to have beaten Leipzig at the death, with Robin Koch finishing from close range to make it 2-1. What a blow that would be for Leipzig!
DISALLOWED GOAL! Oh my word! Freiburg's goal has been disallowed for offside! Still 1-1!
FULL TIME: AUGSBURG 1-2 WOLFSBURG
Wolfsburg have indeed secured all three points with a 2-1 victory at Augsburg. The result has seen Wolfsburg move into sixth position in the table, replacing Schalke in the process.
FULL TIME: DUSSELDORF 0-0 PADERBORN
No goals between the strugglers in the relegation six-pointer. The hosts had slightly more of the ball, but the pair managed just two shots on target between them. Paderborn stay bottom on 17 points, while Dusseldorf are 16th with 23 points.
FULL TIME: HOFFENHEIM 0-3 HERTHA BERLIN
Brilliant performance from Hertha to collect all three points from Hoffenheim. The result has seen Hertha move into 11th spot in the table, now just four points off ninth-placed Hoffenheim.
FULL TIME: LEIPZIG 1-1 FREIBURG
Freiburg had a goal chalked off at the death, meaning that the points are shared between Leipzig and Freiburg with Poulsen cancelling out a goal from Gulde. Freiburg sit seventh, while Leipzig are now three points off second-placed Dortmund.
That is just about it from me this afternoon, but thanks for joining Sports Mole for the return of the Bundesliga action! All in all, it was a smooth afternoon for Germany's top flight and long may that continue! Until next time.