Borussia Dortmund moved one step closer to a second consecutive Bundesliga title with a narrow 2-1 win against FC Schalke 04 in the 140th Revierderby. Furthermore Jürgen Klopp’s side have now set a new Bundesliga record for going the most matches unbeaten in a single season after stretching their streak to 25.
The Royal Blues caused BVB all sorts of problems with their aerial approach in attack and reaped the rewards as Jefferson Farfan opened the scoring with a neat finish inside ten minutes. Lukasz Piszczek pulled Dortmund level, but after the hosts failed to convert their chances, second-half substitute Sebastian Kehl’s poachers effort was enough to grab all three points for the league leaders.

Peruvian pounces

Unsurprisingly the encounter took little time to heat up and Dortmund almost snatched an early lead only for Sven Bender to fire straight at Lars Unnerstall with a guilt-edge chance inside the first minute. The game enjoyed a feisty opening with neither team shying away from the tackle, but Schalke were the side, who assumed the playmakers role in the match as they controlled the pace of the game.

Kyriakos Papdopoulos flashed a near-post header just wide of the target, but it was another corner that brought about the breakthrough just before the ten minute mark. Farfan picked up the loose ball from Christian Fuchs’s delivery before rifling through the crowd of bodies and into the far corner with Roman Weidenfeller left stranded by a wicked deflection off of Shinji Kagawa. The approach play was fluid, though time and space on the ball was a luxury not afforded to either side as both teams were quick to close down the man in possession.

Level pegging

BVB weren’t dealing convincingly with Schalke’s dead ball situations, but soon began carving out their opportunities as they leveled the scores shortly after Lewandowski fired wide one-on-one with Unnerstall. The Royal Blues failed to clear the lines and when Piszczek outmuscled Klaas-Jan Huntelaar the Pole promptly hit a sweetly-struck half volley that whistled across the face of goal and into the back of the net.

The flow of the game was disrupted as the open encounter became increasingly physical. Both sides were having to work a lot harder for a sight of goal and more often than not a lack of precision in the final third brought an end to the more promising moments in the game. Kagawa could only draw a routine save out of Unnerstall with an aerial attempt from Piszczek’s cross, while Huntelaar failed to find the target with a stooping header at the other end on the cusp of half-time.

BVB bullish

Sebastian Kehl was introduced after the break to provide BVB with an added level of a defensive stability, but having sensed weakness in the first-half Schalke continued bombarding the visitors with long balls into the box. Mats Hummels got the faintest of touches to prevent Huntelaar getting on the end of Julian Draxler’s cross before Papadopoulous headed straight at Weidenfeller from Schalke’s tenth corner of the match.

Having survived the early scares Dortmund went about putting themselves in front. Kevin Großkreutz snatched at two half-chances when he may have been better served trying to find a teammate, but the resulting corner handed the visitors the lead for the first time in the match. Kehl failed to make contact with Ilkay Gündogan’s delivery, but when the ball ricocheted kindly off of Christoph Metzelder the defensive midfielder was on hand to poke home from inside the six-yard box.

No late drama

There was a significant lull in proceedings after the goal and while Jakub Blaszczykowski stung the palms of Unnerstall after a threatening counter-attack chances began drying up in the game. Dortmund had stolen the impetus in the match, while given their lack of threat up front, Schalke’s grip on the game loosened with every passing minute.

Huub Stevens’ side hadn’t given up, but were struggling to find their men going forward as Ciprian Marcia was brought on late to add some firepower up front. Fuchs’ drilled cross spun off the top of Huntelaar’s boot instead of into the back of the net, but it wa as close as Schalke came to hindering their arch-rivals pursuit of a second consecutive Bundesliga title.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.