Borussia Dortmund claimed a clear 3-0 (0-0) home win over FC Schalke 04 in the 157th Ruhr derby to cement their place among the leading pack in the Bundesliga table.
Boris Rupert reporting
Borussia took the lead through Akanji in the aftermath of a corner in the 55th minute and then added a second only six minutes later when Sancho teed up Haaland. Hummels rounded off the 3-0 victory with a header in the 78th minute.
Third-placed Borussia Dortmund had won three of their previous four league matches, while 17th-placed Schalke had recently picked up their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Union Berlin.
Can was unavailable after testing positive for Covid-19, while Schmelzer and Zagadou were absent through injury. There were five changes to the XI that started in Rome four days ago, with Bürki, Akanji, Dahoud, Brandt and Reyna replacing Hitz, Piszczek, Bellingham, Witsel and Reus (all substitutes).
BVB lined up with a back four for the first time this season. Dahoud and Delaney formed the central defensive midfield partnership in the Black & Yellows' 4-2-3-1 system, while Sancho, Brandt and Reyna were the attacking midfield trio behind lone frontman Haaland. Schalke lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, with wide men Ludewig and Oczipka dropping back to expand the defence into a back five. Matondo, who was playing as the secondary striker, was given the defensive duty of disrupting Hummels' build-up play and dropping back into midfield.
The match & analysis:
Schalke intelligently kept the pitch compact and took a physical approach. It was not until the 11th minute that Haaland had the first shot of the game, with the first chance then falling to Meunier on the quarter-hour mark – although Rönnöw did brilliantly to keep out his shot from a centre-left position in the box. Dahoud's shot from 22 metres glanced the crossbar in the 33rd minute.
The occasions when the Black & Yellows found the gaps in the Schalke rearguard were few and far between. At the other end, the Royal Blues got their first chance following a mistake by Akanji. Matondo picked out Oczipka, whose shot was deflected behind for a corner by Meunier at the last second (33). The Belgian was in the thick of the action at the other end four minutes later with a "Tomas Rosicky no-look cross" with the outside of his boot towards Reyna, who headed wide from six metres. BVB dominated both possession (77 percent) and the shot count (9-3) in the first half.
Borussia upped the pressure at the start of the second period. Sancho curled a free-kick that had been awarded for a foul on Reyna in from the left and Sané almost turned it into his own net with a header that landed on the roof of the goal. The hosts took the resultant corner short and Sancho combined with Brandt to tee up Guerreiro. The Portuguese drove into the box and when Rönnöw could not keep hold of his shot, Akanji was the quickest to pounce on the loose ball and prod it home to open the scoring (55).
At this point Schalke, who had been covering a lot of ground, opened up for the first time. In the 61st minute, Haaland held off several opponents, fed Sancho and then made a bursting run towards goal. The Englishman read the Norwegian's run, drove forward at speed and played it into his team-mate's path. Haaland did the rest, dinking the ball over Rönnöw and into the net.
It was effectively over at 2-0, with Rönnöw (68) and Nastastic (69) making interventions to deny Haaland and Reyna respectively. But it was only a matter of time. On 78 minutes, Guerreiro whipped a corner-kick into the middle and Hummels met it with a powerful yet well-placed header – it was both the second goal of the evening from a corner and the second goal from a defender too.
BVB will welcome Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg to Dortmund for their first UEFA Champions League home game on Wednesday (21:00 CET). They will then visit Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga on Saturday (15:30 CET).