Having succumbed 2-1 in both of last season's Ruhr derbies, Borussia Dortmund reclaimed the bragging rights on Saturday by overcoming local rivals FC Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen.
Effervescent forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Schwarzgelben a 14th-minute lead, tucking in Marco Reus' squared pass for his sixth goal of the season. Kevin-Prince Boateng then missed from the spot and paid a high price when Nuri Şahin doubled the lead with a superb long-range strike.
Although Schalke prospect Max Meyer registered in his third consecutive match to unsettle the visitors, Jakub Błaszczykowski sealed a 3-1 victory. "It was a very intense game," said coach Jürgen Klopp. "Everyone played their hearts out today and winning here is something very special. Schalke created lots of problems for us, but in the end we deserved to win."
The result allowed Dortmund – a point shy of Bundesliga pacesetters FC Bayern München – to consolidate their grip on second place and open up an 11-point gap over Schalke in seventh. "It's obviously very disappointing – a derby defeat at home is never pleasant," commented the Royal Blues' captain Benedikt Höwedes. "We gave ourselves a chance after scoring the third goal," added 18-year-old midfielder Meyer. "We put a lot of pressure on Dortmund, but that left us vulnerable on the counter."
Meanwhile, it was a day to remember for Dortmund summer signing Aubameyang, who marked his first Revierderby with a composed finish. "I'm delighted to have scored in such an important game," explained the 24-year-old striker. "It was a derby, and after two defeats in the same fixture last season, this victory is even sweeter."
Armenia playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who found the net in the midweek 2-1 UEFA Champions League Group F defeat of Arsenal FC, added: "It's been a perfect week for us and today was a very important result. I'm delighted for the team and especially for the fans, who have played their part. It's been a tough week and to come away with three wins is great. Now we need to continue our momentum."
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