Riedle surprised by Dortmund's transformation
Few fixtures can encapsulate the mania of derbies quite like the battle of the Ruhr.
Tomorrow's 153rd meeting between Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund sees both sides intent on making statements.
Lucien Favre's Bundesliga leaders aim to maintain a seven-point gap at the Bundesliga summit while last season's runner-up aim to arrest a mid-table slump.
Victory in Dortmund's latest trip to the Veltins-Arena, just eight months after a 2-0 reversal,would confirm a remarkable turnaround since the start of the season.
Even those within Signal Iduna Park have been taken aback by the transformation.
"I don't think that anybody in the club expected such a quick change from the type of football we play now and even from the results we have (had) so far in the season," Dortmund legend Karl-Heinz Riedle, 53, told The New Paper in an exclusive interview in Dortmund recently.
The manager, (Lucien) Favre, he turned it around in a really short time with some really big players we bought.–Borussia Dortmund international ambassador Karl-Heinz Riedle
"The manager, Favre, he turned it around in a really short time with some really big players we bought, especially in the midfield with (Axel) Witsel and (Thomas) Delaney.
"They give the team much more stability, so even the defence looks much better than last season - and especially up front with Jadon Sancho.
"Even (Christian) Pulisic is doing really well, Marco Reus (is) on his best (form), Paco Alcacer.
"So overall, it's a big squad and a very good squad."
Riedle, now an international ambassador at Dortmund, scored four times in seven outings against Schalke and believes his old club's current momentum could propel them to a first Revierderby victory since 2015 as well as their first in Gelsenkirchen for over five years.
"Last year, the situation was a little bit different because we were struggling," he said.
"This year, Schalke are not in big trouble but they're in trouble. We've had quite a good run this season.
"The team are playing brilliantly so far, so hopefully we can bring this passion into this game."
Former Germany international Riedle fired Dortmund to glory in the 1997 Champions League final with a two-goal haul against Juventus. He admitted that winning the Bundesliga title this season would rank among the club's most significant triumphs after a seven-year drought.
"It would mean a lot. It's been quite a long time," said Riedle.
"Bayern Munich were dominating it for a long time. It's a long way to go. We're only seven points clear of (Borussia Moenchen)Gladbach but the team are in a good shape.
"Hopefully, they can bring it like they are playing at the moment after the break. But there's a long way to go to win a title.
"Even Bayern Munich now, you can see, they're lifted, so you should never underestimate them." - RICHARD BUXTON, IN DORTMUND