Schalke 04 came from behind to snatch a late 2-1 win over derby rivals Borussia Dortmund on Friday to climb within a point of the Bundesliga leaders.
Schalke’s victory moved them one point behind Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, who play at the weekend, and gave them a double over Borussia following a 1-0 away win earlier this season.
A lackluster first half ended goalless, but the match came to life when Borussia’s Paraguayan forward Nelson Haedo Valdez was fouled by Ivan Rakitic and Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin converted his penalty in the 47th minute.
Benedikt Hoewedes outjumped two Dortmund defenders to head the equalizer in the 66th minute following a free-kick on the right.
Dortmund, missing leading scorer Lucas Barrios through suspension, could have scored again in the 81st minute after a Haedo Valdez breakaway, but he dallied over his shot, allowing Rafinha time to recover and block the effort.
Two minutes later, Schalke snatched victory when Croatia’s Rakitic atoned for giving away the penalty by firing home from the edge of the penalty area.
The win in the 135th Ruhr derby left Schalke with 48 points from 24 games, putting them nine ahead of fifth-placed Borussia, whose chances of a Champions League place next season are now remote.
Bayer Leverkusen, who lead on goal difference, were scheduled to entertain Cologne yesterday, while Bayern Munich host Hamburg SV today.