Schalke coach David Wagner thinks it is a "huge advantage" to recommence the side's Bundesliga campaign following the coronavirus suspension with the Revierderby against Borussia Dortmund.
The Bundesliga will resume on Saturday after a hiatus of more than two months due to the pandemic, which has resulted in over 7,000 deaths in Germany.
Schalke's trip to Signal Iduna Park is the pick of the matches in the first weekend back, with the visitor hoping to strengthen its bid for a European spot and dent its bitter rival's chances of pushing Bayern Munich all the way in the title race.
The season will resume in empty stadiums and with strict medical protocols for all necessary attendees.
While Wagner is disappointed fans cannot attend, the former Huddersfield Town boss is confident getting the season kick-started with such a high-profile fixture can only be a good thing.
"The lads have behaved in an exemplary manner recently," Wagner told reporters on Thursday. "It's an extremely tough situation for us all - both privately and professionally.
"It's been tough going, but the lads have made the best of this situation.
"One huge advantage is that we aren't just playing any old match, but rather the derby. Even though the fans can't be with us in the stadium, I know that they will be fully backing us."
Victory for Schalke will ensure it remains sixth, while a win for Dortmund could see it finish the weekend just a point adrift of Bayern, who go to Union Berlin on Sunday.
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