Schalke 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
(Sané 51', Huntelaar 66'[penalty] - Kagawa 49', Ginter 56')
Schalke picked up an important point in their quest for Champions League football on Sunday in their 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund in the Ruhr-region derby. Although their rivals were 23 points ahead of them going into the match, André Breitenreiter's side battled hard to get a result despite a run of form that had seen them pick up just four wins from their last 10 Bundesliga games.
Despite the apparent lack of first-choice starters in Thomas Tuchel's team, Dortmund kicked off the match with a clear intent to cause Schalke trouble. Teenage winger Christian Pulisic looked like a seasoned veteran, sprinting down Dortmund's right flank time and time again. In one of his runs, the 17-year-old prodigy found enough space and time to fire a shot across the face of Ralf Fährmann's goal, evading the goalkeeper but also the far post by a matter of centimeters.
Dortmund rested a number of key players
After that, Schalke started to turn their efforts up a notch. The first real chance for the home side came through Leroy Sané in the 32nd minute as he found enough time and space in front of the Dortmund box to place a shot and test Roman Bürki. Although the curling effort ultimately went wide of the right post, the shot inspired Schalke into creating more chances.
Just seven minutes later, wing back Junior Caicara found space to attack down Schalke's right flank before unleashing a powerful shot towards Bürki's back post. The Dortmund shot stopper was fortunate to see the ball fly a few centimeters wide of his goal. At the break both sides went down the tunnel content with the score but the home side were perhaps a little more buoyant considering the manner in which they'd finished the opening period.
From drab to dramatic
After a timid first half, the breakthrough came just minutes after the restart. A quick passing sequence between Shinji Kagawa and Moritz Leitner on the edge of the Schalke box allowed the Japanese international to place a wonderfully chipped ball over Fährmann and into the far corner of the net. Schalke responded almost immediately, when a rushed attack saw Caicara hit a strong shot from the right only for Bürki's save to land at the feet of the on-running Sané. With little time to think, the forward swung at the ball and knocked it in to the Dortmund net.
Dortmund doubled their lead five minutes later when a free-kick delivery from Henrikh Mkhitaryan took a deflection and ended up looping towards Schalke's back post. There, Matthias Ginter peeled away from his marker and headed in to pull the visitors in front. Schalke dragged themselves back into the game when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar broke through the middle of Dortmund's defense before being brought down in the penalty area by a clumsy challenge from Sokratis. The Dutch striker then stepped up to the spot and fired the ball home for Schalke's second equalizer of the afternoon.
Huntelaar celebrates his conversion from the spot, Schalke's second equalizer of the game
Though he had planned to rest his stars before Dortmund's big away leg against Liverpool in the Europa League quarterfinals later this week, Tuchel brought on Ilkay Gündogan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 72nd minute in a push to find a third goal. They almost did, with Kagawa firing a shot narrowly wide of Fährmann's right post.
The home side survived the late onslaught and could have stolen a late winner. Substitute Max Meyer failed to control a half volley in the Dortmund box and saw the ball bounce over his opponents' goal in the final seconds of the game. Schalke will nonetheless be happy with the single point, which kept them within touching distance of the Champions League spots in the Bundesliga table.