top of page

Clutch Revierderby Performance

Schalke-Fans brennen Feuerwerk ab. (© Bernd Thissen/dpa)

What a night! What a result! We can look back at the 100th edition of the Revierderby between Schalke and Dortmund at Veltins Arena Saturday night with a smile on our face. But it wasn't all peaches and cream, was it?

The Nordkurve was obviously buzzing pre-match and throughout the derby. Drowning out the visitors who attended. The team looked ready in warm-ups, and Gerald Asamoah gave an English interview with Archie Rhind-Tutt where he told us just how well-prepared the team was ahead of such a big match.

Heading into a match like this, both teams were in fine form. Schalke on a six-match unbeaten run came out in a 4-2-3-1 while Dortmund on a ten-match win streak came out in a 4-3-3. All indications were that Schalke would come out as the aggressor in this affair and Dortmund would have to weather the early storm on the backs of a raucous crowd. Dortmund was a bit reeling after their hard-fought and draining loss midweek to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. We didn't see that pan out in the first half, however.

Blue smoke is seen from Schalke supporters during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Saturday, March 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)(Martin Meissner / Associated Press)

Schalke came out as if they were visitors. Sitting back, trying to soak up the pressure and not allowing the dam to break. There was no intent to do to Dortmund what Chelsea had done to them. Thomas Reis said in his Press Conference before the derby that they wanted to play a similar way that Chelsea had. Put pressure on their rivals and force them to play uneasily. Instead, Schalke sat back and allowed Dortmund to grow into the half.

The Royal Blues defended bravely, namely the backline of Henning Matriciani, Moritz Jenz, Maya Yoshida, Cedric Brunner, and of course Ralf Fahrmann. The latter had to make a few big early saves on Jude Bellingham and Donyell Malen.

Nico Schlotterbeck of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after his scoring his team's first goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund at Veltins-Arena Image credit: Getty Images

It was the road team who opened the scoring in the 38th minute through Nico Schlotterbeck and horrible defensive play, but it had been building. Once that goal went in, it looked like it was the start of a long night. Half-time statistics were lopsided at best. Dortmund had 71% possession and 10 shots on target. Schalke's lone opportunity came through a breakaway chance by Rodrigo Zalazar, who didn't even manage to get the shot on target. Not even remotely.

Many fans were left wondering, can Reis and his bench coaches find a way to change the team back into that Malocher-Mentalität? This is the mother of all derbies, of course, and anything usually does happen. We would find out the answer would be an emphatic yes!

Marius Bulter celebrates his goal against Borussia. Schalke/Divulgação

The team looked like a different beast to begin the second half. They had more fight, more passion, and were winning the 50-50 battles. A prime example of that was on display in the 50th minute. Alex Kral muscled the ball away from Bellingham, Tom Krauss intercepted the loose ball and passed to Zalazar who found Michael Frey on the right. The mobile striker marauded down the right side and weighted a beautiful ball across the face of the goal to a wide-open Marius Bulter who slotted home the goal. The raucous crowd exploded as the goal scorer somersaulted the ill-positioned camera and began his celebrations.

The Revierderby was on and so was Schalke. Dortmund responded well and eventually caught the Royal Blues sleeping on defense yet again as Raphael Guerreiro got back the lead for the visitors just ten minutes later. This time, however, it felt as if Schalke would be able to come back once more.

Sportschau, 11.03.2023 21:06 Uhr

Time began to tick away, and doubt started creeping into the minds of the fans. Once again it was Bulter to the rescue. This time providing the playmaker with a cross from the left touchline that substitute, Kenan Karaman, got his head on the end of, equalizing the match and going into Schalke folklore.

Instead of settling for the draw, Schalke pushed on and came close through more substitute power via Tobias Mohr and Eder Balanta who forced Dortmund keeper, Alexander Meyer, to make crucial saves and allowed his team to save face. The match ended in a draw, but like in 2017, this felt like a Schalke win.

Stellar performances all the way around by Schalke. To name a few: Matriciani only increased his folk hero status with his superb defensive efforts. Krauss and Kral were marvelous in the midfield once again, nullifying the BVB attack in the second half, for the most part. Fahrmann made many big and timely saves in this epic encounter. Last, but not least, the Man of the Match performance by Bulter with his goal and assist.

A heck of a performance yet again by Reis and his men extends the unbeaten streak to seven games and gives Schalke fans the hope that they have more miracles up their sleeves still. A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but the club is playing for one another and have found that Malocher-Mentalität again which inspired that wonderful run to end last season. Stay tuned, folks!


bottom of page