Sparks flew at Veltins-Arena Saturday, as the much-anticipated Ruhr Derby was delayed after a section of the traveling support lit flares and threw them onto the pitch. It eventually ended in a 3-1 victory for the visitors.
After Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller helped calm things down, the match kicked off and it was the guests who settled quickest into the encounter—Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finding good space down the right but misplacing his pass after just seven minutes.
But the Gabon international would make amends soon thereafter, putting his side ahead shortly before the quarter-hour mark following a delightful bit of buildup play from the guests.
Makeshift right-back Kevin Grosskreutz got things started with a good ball to Henrikh Mkhitaryan from the right, and following a neat one-two between the Armenian and Reus the latter slipped the ball to Aubameyang, who directed the ball into the open net.
Midway through the second half Aubameyang nearly had his second when he forced a good stop from Timo Hildebrand, but in the 29th minute Schalke found themselves with a chance to equalize following a controversial penalty call that sent Kevin-Prince Boateng to the spot.
Referee Knut Kircher judged Neven Subotic to have fouled Christian Fuchs inside the area, but it was a harsh decision and justice was served when Roman Weidenfeller guessed correctly and stopped Boateng’s attempt.
Schalke seemed to find a reserve of energy to begin the second half, but again it was Dortmund who opened the period with a goal—Nuri Sahin hitting an unstoppable drive from distance in the 51st minute after accepting Mkhitaryan’s layoff.
This time, however, the hosts’ response was a good one, and shortly after replacing Christian Fuchs in the 61st minute Max Meyer managed to pull a goal back for Schalke, pouncing on a loose ball after an uncharacteristic rebound conceded by Weidenfeller.
But Schalke’s fight-back was short-lived. With barely a quarter-hour remaining Jakub Blaszczykowski took his turn at playing the super-sub.
Having replaced Aubameyang, the Poland captain completed a masterful counter-attack when he beat Hildebrand to the near post following another good pass from Mkhitaryan.
Key Player Grades
Marco Reus: A
He didn’t get his name on the scoresheet but the Borussia Dortmund attacker was his side’s most consistent threat on Saturday and he played an integral part in Aubameyang’s opener. When he came off in the 89th minute he had touched the ball 44 times, completed 85 per cent of his passes and taken two shots on goal. (All statistics courtesy WhoScored.com)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: A
The Armenia international played one of his best games in a Dortmund shirt and had a hand in all three goals for his side. Playing between Aubameyang and Reus, and in support of Robert Lewandowski, he won four key dribbles and was generally a thorn in the side of Schalke midfielders Denis Aogo and Roman Neustadter.
Kevin-Prince Boateng: B-
It was a struggle to get him fit for this match, but at the end of the day his contribution to the cause was minimal. Although he committed himself defensively he completed only 71 per cent of his passes and was denied from the penalty spot when he had a chance to earn his side an equalizer in the first half.
|Schalke 04 Player Grades|
|Borussia Dortmund Player Grades|
Next up for Schalke is an away match against Hertha Berlin, after which they’ll travel to Chelsea in the Champions League. Dortmund, meanwhile, will host Stuttgart on November 1 before welcoming Arsenal to Signal-Iduna-Park on November 6.