A brilliant late freekick from Schalke talisman Naldo sealed a 2-0 victory for the Royal Blues in the Ruhr Derby. The victory gives Schalke a nine point Champions League cushion with just four games to play.
Schalke 2 - 0 Borussia Dortmund
(Konoplyanka 49', Naldo 82')
He scored the dramatic late equalizer in the 4-4 draw between the sides in November and Naldo was once again the scourge of Dortmund on Sunday, as the Brazilian’s brilliant late freekick capped a win that was all too comfortable.
The derby started at a frantic pace, with the sides trading half chances, but it took until just after the interval to break the deadlock. Daniel Caligiuri robbed Dortmund skipper Marcel Schmelzer on the halfway line and drove in to the opposition half. Yellow and black shirts were drawn towards him in a shocking example of defending which left Yevhen Konoplyanka in acres of space to drive firmly past Roman Bürki.
Dortmund struggled to form any cohesive reponse, with a series of attacks floundering as they reached the edge of the box. Marco Reus tested Fährmann a couple of times but there was little conviction about BVB.
Schalke’s defensive solidity has been well documented and they were content to sit back and allow their rivals to attack them but things got even more comfortable with eight minutes to go.
As Naldo stood over a dead ball, it looked far too far out to strike. But Schalke worked the ball a yard right of where it started, enabling Naldo to bend a low, powerful shot around the end of the wall and past Bürki to seal the victory.
The three points give Schalke a four point lead over Leverkusen and Dortmund and a nine point lead over 5th-placed Hoffenheim. A win is likely to be enough to see them back in the Champions League for the first time since 2014/15. For Dortmund, next week’s hosting of Leverkusen and the final day trip to take on Hoffenheim look likely to define their season while a late injury to Michy Batshuayi could also prove decisive.
As it happened
That's it. In the end a fairly comforatable win for Schalke, who defended well and scored two excellent goals. We'll have a match report here any minute.
90+3 - Batshuayi is stretchered off. He never got up after that tackle. That could be another serious blow to Dortmund.
90+1' Batshuayi skips through with men in support but is cleaned out, fairly, by Stambouli. Kehrer is loving it and plays to the crowd, who are equally adoring. You wouldn't want to be a Dortmund fan in that stadium right now.
90' - There will be three minutes of injury time.
89' - That was better, as Pulisic drives low to Reus, but his snapshot is straight at Fährmann.
88' - Another Dortmund attack breaks down on the edge of the box. There's very little cohesion to their attacking play.
86' - Dortmund have a corner and replace Schmelzer with Götze, surely far too late from Stöger. Tedesco also acts, replacing Harit with Di Santo. The corner is cleared easily by the home side.
82' - GOAL! He's done it! The free kick was played from one Schalke man to another to enable the Brazilian to whip it round, rather than over, the wall and he did just that from about 30 yards, a sensational low strike.
82' - Naldo is standing over a free kick a long way out. Surely not?
81' - Piszczek whips in a ball to Batshuayi, but he's ahead of the front post and can't direct his diving header on targer.
79 - Sancho is on for Dahoud as Stöger finally rolls the dice.
75' - At the other end Schürrle gets to the byline but Schalke mass around him and scramble the ball - and the resulting corner - away. Reus then fires wide from a difficult position.
74' - Schalke on the front foot again. First McKennie is almost in but has to check back. The ball is recycled and stood up to Konoplyanka, who volleys acrobatically wide and is then substituted for Pjaca.
71' - A change for the home side, who withdraw Goretzka for McKennie.
69 - Schalke seem content to sit deep and Dortmund haven't shown the wit to break through the lines at this point.
66' - Reus finds half a yard of space in the box but his effort is tame and straight at Fährmann.
64 - Finally a little spell of pressure for Dortmund. It comes down the right where Reus almost finds Batshuayi. But doesn't. The frontman has barely had a kick today.
61' - Piszczek is the first man in the book for hauling back Harit as he broke free.
60' - Burgstaller latches on to a long through ball but is flagged offside. Dortmund haven't responded to the goal at all.
56' - Schmelzer gives it away. Again. He's having a nightmare out there, it would be no surprise if Stöger was to give his captain the hook here. Watching that goal again though, it's more than just Schmelzer at fault. Three Dortmund defenders were drawn to the ball and no-one tracked the runner. Really basic stuff.
55' - This is a big test of Dortmund's resolve. They've not created a great deal here and Schalke are rock solid at the back.
53' - The camera cuts to the stands and those in blue are bouncing - the place is rocking. Schmelezer is again caught out and Schalke win a corner, which Dortmund clear.
49' - GOAL! Caligiuri robs Schmelzer and carries the ball 30 yards, drawing Dortmund's defenders to him before slipping the ball to Konoplyanka who looks to have taken too long but then powers it home from just inside the box. Lovely goal on the counter.
46' - We're underway in the second half. Schürrle has replaced Philipp for Dortmund.
And that's the break. A fairly entertaining half where the home side have probably had a bit more of the play, but no goals just yet.
45' - Naldo finds Konoplyanka with a raking pass. He drives in side and strikes with the right but it flies just wide.
42' - Some tidy interplay from Harit, Goretzka and Burgstaller wins Schalke a corner. Caligiuri aims for the fron post but it comes to nothing.
38' - Is this a brave man or an eccentric? I'll let you be the judge of that. The text reads "Interesting shirt".
35' - Burgstaller catches Schmelzer on the ankle with a bit of a late one and then dishes out a verbal spray for good measure. Still no bookings. Yet.
31' - After a somewhat frantic start, it's calmed down a bit in the Veltins Arena. Both sides have threatened, but only really from long range.
25' - Kehrer gets a free header from a set piece but can't get over it. Just a reminder that at this point in the reverse fixture, Dortmund were 4-0 up. And we all know what happened next....
24' - Reus, quiet up until now, almost catches Fährmann out with a dipping freekick from distance that the Schalke keeper pushes away from the top corner. That's as close as Dortmund have come.
22' - The referee is in the action again, he's struck on the back by Philipp's attempted cross field ball. But it lands safely back to a yellow shirt.
18' - Burgstaller looks to be on to a low cross at the fron post but Töprak flies in with an top class sliding tackle to force it out for a corner. Caligiuri's delivery is easily dealt with and Konoplyanka is somewhat fortuante to avoid a booking after clipping Reus as he tried to counter.
16' - Stambouli pumps in a free kick from deep but a stretching Harit can't get on the end of it. Replays suggest he was offside but no matter now.
12' - A loose touch from Batshuayi allows Naldo to clean him and the ball out, much to the Schalke fans' approval. Eventually the ball finds its way to Burgstaller, who drags his shot wide.
8' - A delay as the linesman has more trouble with whatever is sewn in to his sleeve. Heart rate monitor? Some kind of communications equipment? Pack of fags? I'm not sure.
6' - Brilliant save from Bürki. Schöpf skimmed a curling low shot from the edge of the box and the Dortmund keeper flung out a strong right hand to turn it round the post. Open start to this one.
4' - Schalke venture forward for the first time. Goretzka tries a cross from the right, Konoplyanka from the left, Dortmund deal with both.
2' - Right from the off, Kehrer leaves a backpass short and Fährmann is out sharply to deny Pulisic. The Schalke keeper then makes a simple save from the resulting corner.
1' - Derby veterans Marcel Schmelzer and Ralf Fährmann shake hands, the players take their positions and - after a slight delay where the referee helped his assistant with some technology in his sleeve - we're off!
15:27 - Songs are being sung, flags are being waved and players are in the tunnel. Not long now.
15:15 - Speaking to Sky before the game, Peter Stöger admits that the pressure of his first Ruhr Derby is intense. "The Ruhr derby is definitely the most emotional game I've participated in," he says.
15:00 - Hi, and welcome to DW's live coverage of the Ruhr Derby - Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund. The reverse fixtures was a 4-4 draw that probably stands as the game of the season in the Bundesliga thus far. Here's hoping for more of the same
Schalke's last victory against Borussia Dortmund came on September 27, 2014. The last four matches between the sides have all been draws. But with the teams separated by just a point and any winner set fair for the Champions League next season, there's more than just local pride on the line.
The teams are in already. No huge surprises but the availability of Marco Reus is a big boost for Peter Stöger while Naldo will be hoping to repeat his last gasp equalizer in the 4-4. Presumably Benjamin Stambouli will be one of those who joins him at the back, a slightly unfamiliar role for the former Spurs man.