Borussia Dortmund suffered their first home defeat of the Bundesliga season on Matchday 31 as they were beaten 4-2 (2-1) by FC Schalke 04 in the 154th Ruhr derby.

Boris Rupert reporting

The 80,196 spectators at a sold-out Signal Iduna Park – more than 1,100 places were left empty for security reasons – saw BVB take a 14th-minute lead through Götze. But Schalke turned the game around before the break, with Caligiuri converting an extremely controversial penalty awarded for handball in the 18th minute before Sané headed home from a corner 10 minutes later. The deficit was increased to 3-1 on the hour-mark when Caligiuri curled home a free-kick after Reus had been given his marching orders. BVB were then reduced to nine men when Wolf was dismissed for a similar tackle from behind on the 65-minute mark, but the Black & Yellows refused to give up and narrowed the deficit to 3-2 through Witsel, only for Embolo to re-establish the two-goal deficit and make it 4-2 less than a minute later.

The scenario: 
Never before had 42 points separated the teams ahead of a derby and only three times had the gap ever been so big between second-placed Dortmund and the 15th-placed Schalke. Having won the reverse fixture 2-1, BVB were gunning for their first Bundesliga double over S04 since the 2011/12 season – but derbies are never straightforward affairs...


Personnel matters: 
Wolf, who had been suffering from a partial tear of the lateral collateral ligament, bit the bullet and declared himself fit to play, meaning Lucien Favre could name the same starting XI as the previous week for the first time this season. Philipp was omitted from the squad due to muscular problems.

While Dortmund lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 system, Schalke started in a 5-3-2 and mostly kept a flat back five even when they had the ball, with the full-backs rarely venturing over the halfway line. The visitors were focused on remaining compact, leaving no gaps and in some cases marked man-to-man. Serdar was always pressuring Witsel, while Oczipka followed Sancho everywhere. Once Alcácer had replaced Delaney in the 56th minute, the home side switched to a 4-1-4-1 with Götze and Reus in the centre of the attacking midfield quartet.

The match & analysis:
There was an extraordinary intensity from the first whistle – both in the stands and on the pitch, where almost all of the match was being played in the half occupied by Schalke. The visitors defended compactly and gave nothing away aside from a long-range effort from Delaney in the 11th minute, but the breakthrough came three minutes later when Sancho lobbed the ball over the defence and into the path of Götze, who headed home the opening goal.


When Schalke ventured forward the first time and Weigl blocked Embolo's shot, there were no protests and the game continued as normal. But then Zwayer blew his whistle in the 18th minute following consultation with VAR Winkmann and awarded a spot-kick, which Caligiuri converted. Ten minutes later, the Royal Blues turned the game on its head completely against the run of play – BVB had had 84 percent possession by that point – when Sané headed home a corner to put the visitors 2-1 ahead. It was another demonstration of just how unpredictable derbies can be. There were no further goals and Borussia went in at the break 2-1 down and facing an uphill battle, despite having dominated in every statistic aside from goals (81 percent possession, 62 percent tackle win rate, 92 percent pass completion rate).

Reus and Wolf see red

BVB were full of energy after the restart and first threatened when Guerreiro shot from distance on 54 minutes. Favre took a gamble by bringing on Alcácer for Delaney in the 56th minute, but the match was transformed as a contest when Reus (60) and Wolf (65) were dismissed in close succession for tackles from behind on Serdar. To make matters worse, Caligiuri curled the free-kick awarded for the Reus foul into the top corner from 26 metres to make it 3-1.


However, the reaction from the stands was remarkable. Reus was given a standing ovation as he made his way off and, with a quarter-hour to go, the crowd got to their feet to bellow: "We will always be Black & Yellow..."

Witsel sparked hopes of a comeback when he converted a cross from substitute Bruun Larsen to reduce the deficit to 3-2 with six minutes plus stoppage time to go. But those hopes were dashed more or less immediately when Embolo re-established the two-goal cushion after receiving Oczipka's pass and firing home a fourth from 16 metres out.

All the goals and highlights at a click

BVB are next in action on Saturday when they face SV Werder Bremen at the Weser-Stadion (kick-off 18:30 CET).

Teams & goals