Coming into today, no one would have predicted that Borussia Dortmund would lose to a relation-fodder Schalke in their own stadium. However, Revierderbys never disappoint, and Lucien Favre had the displeasure of finding out just how fickle the football gods can be.
Being only one point behind Bayern Munich and coming off a huge win over Freiburg last weekend, BVB were looking to hammer their Ruhr rivals and keep up the pressure at the top of the table. Unfortunately for them, things didn’t go to plan. After Mario Götze scored the opener, Schalke rallied and were awarded a dubious penalty from a Julian Weigl handball.
Daniel Caliguiri, who was the star of the night, converted the penalty and it was suddenly all square. Then shortly afterward, Schalke scored from a set piece, something that has been BVB’s kryptonite since the tail-end of the Klopp era. The two teams went into the half with Schalke having the advantage.
It all fell apart for BVB in the second half. Not long after Favre subbed on Paco Alcacer to inject some impetus in the attack, Dortmund captain Marco Reus made a dangerous lunge at Suat Serdar and was sent off with a straight red. Caliguiri scored from the resulting free kick to make it 1-3.
Following his captain’s example, Marius Wolf did something similar just five minutes later, giving BVB another red and burying their title hopes for good. An unexpected goal by Axel Witsel late in the second half gave Schalke some jitters, but Breel Embolo quickly restored the two goal cushion.
Full time: Borussia Dortmund 2-4 Schalke.
Lucien Favre concedes the title
Following the game, Favre was asked by Sky whether the title race had been decided. “Yes, sure,” he answered. “I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s very, very hard to stomach.”
Favre: "The title race is done. It's hard to stomach but it is what it is." #bvbs04— Stefan Buczko (@StefanBuczko) April 27, 2019
Favre was particularly bitter about the controversial handball call against Julian Weigl that awarded Schalke a penalty and erased Dortmund’s early lead. Weigl was hit in the left arm from close range while in mid-air. Favre commented (kicker),
It’s so ridiculous, the biggest scandal in football in years. We want the players to cut their own arms off. It’s becoming every opponent’s goal to shoot at the arm. Without arms, you have no balance! You need your arms. It’s a big disgrace for football. I want to know: who invented that? Football is making itself completely ridiculous.
Favre was further frustrated by the circumstances that led to the handball: Jadon Sancho was “not at his position” during the play because while celebrating the opening goal with the team he had been struck in the face by a lighter thrown from the Schalke fan block. “There was a lot today — too much,” Favre said.
Despite Favre’s resignation, however, it’s far to early to declare the title in favor of Bayern. Strange things have happened this season, and it’s likely that the Nurnberg may give the Bavarians a stern test tomorrow. Also, even if Bayern win, it’s just 4 points. Bayern still have yet to face RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt, two teams who could destroy their title hopes on the last two matchdays of the season.
No matter what Favre says, the title is far from won. Bayern must keep fighting.