FC Schalke 04 completed a memorable victory at FC Internazionale Milano, twice coming from behind en route to a comprehensive win that leaves them on the verge of a place in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time.
Schalke responded first to Dejan Stanković's extraordinary opener inside 25 seconds and then Diego Milito's effort, via Joel Matip and Edu, before astounding Leonardo's side with three second-half efforts. An Andrea Ranocchia own goal and Raúl González's 70th UEFA Champions League strike turned things round, and after Cristian Chivu's 62nd-minute dismissal Edu's second of the evening capped a remarkable triumph.
A stirring match got off to a remarkable start as Milito raced on to a fine through ball by Esteban Cambiasso only to be denied by Manuel Neuer, who showed great presence of mind to race out of his area and head away. His clearance reached the halfway line, where it was met by Stanković and a superb first-time shot that sailed back over the goalkeeper's head.
It was disastrous for the visitors, but they were not stunned into submission and strung together some well-worked moves. Twice Raúl came close with headers following impressive right-wing raids by Atsuto Uchida, and although Inter could have been two up when Milito delivered a cross that was too high for Sneijder, the visitors' resolve was rewarded with an equaliser.
On 17 minutes Kyriakos Papadopoulos rose highest to head a corner goalwards and, although Júlio César saved well, Matip – playing at centre-back in the absence of the injured Christoph Metzelder – bundled in the rebound. It took a wonderful save to deny José Manuel Jurado soon after and Stanković limped off, yet the hosts regained the lead with a seamless team move that swept the length of the field. It ended with Cambiasso popping up at the far post to head Sneijder's chipped delivery into the path of Milito, who finished expertly.
Again the Bundesliga strugglers hit back, Jurado releasing Edu, who scored at the second attempt after Júlio César had blocked his first deflected effort. The pendulum threatened to swing again in a frenetic opening to the second half, Milito firing wide and Samuel Eto'o forcing an adroit stop from Neuer. But it was the visitors who forged ahead when Raúl brought down Jefferson Farfán's pass, escaped his markers and slotted in.
Within four minutes it was 4-2 as Schalke caught Inter, and Ranocchia, cold on the counterattack, the outstanding Jurado breaking down the right and inviting the Nerazzurri defender into a desperate lunge that took the ball past his own goalkeeper. It quickly got worse for the shell-shocked hosts as Chivu was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Inter were unravelling and Schalke sought the killer blow, rattling the woodwork when Jurado let fly from distance and hitting the same post after Júlio César saved bravely from Farfán. Inter failed to clear properly, however, and Edu's shot on the turn settled matters, perhaps definitively, in Schalke's favour.