The biggest local derby in Germany takes place tonight...
Schalke dominated the early years of the Revierderby. In the first 17 clashes, the Koenigsblauen won 16 times with BvB securing only one draw. Dortmund's first victory over their detested neighbours came during war-time, November 29, 1942; they won 2-0. However, Schalke's early assertions skew
the overall record in their favour. Dortmund's victory in May 2005 snapped a period of almost seven years without defeat for Schalke. Despite Schalke's derby fortitude, Dortmund have racked up more significant honours, including a Champions League in 1997, the same year Schalke claimed the UEFA Cup. Schalke are without a German title since 1958 and their most recent chance to claim the top prize came in 2007. However the 'mother of all derbies' against Dortmund was lost on the penultimate day of the season and with top spot went their chances of claiming the crown. Dortmund fans recently had commemorative t-shirts commissioned to 'celebrate' Schalke's 50 years without a title.
Mad Jens - Goalscoring Hero
The former Arsenal goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, has played a significant part in the history of the Revierderby. He endured a difficult start to his Schalke career as an apprentice, fleeing a Bundesliga game at half-time after being substituted during a hapless performance against Bayer Leverkusen. However, he established himself as an integral component of the Koenigsblauen, saving an Ivan Zamorano penalty in the 1997 UEFA Cup final. Memorably, he scored a remarkable last minute equaliser against BvB in December 1997. At the Schalke museum, that game remains the only non-winning match on the video screen loop. Lehmann moved briefly to Milan before returning controversially to Dortmund.
Kleppinger - A Man For Derby Days
and in December notched a brace in a devastating 6-1 win. He etched his name into derby folklore in September 1986 when his two goals gave the win to Schalke and confirmed Kleppinger as a derby legend. He left Schalke in 1987.... for Dortmund.
The Swiss forward, Alex Frei, made himself a derby legend due to his contributions against Schalke during the fourth matchday of the 2008-09 season. The striker had not featured for BvB that season due to injury and was named among the substitutes by Juergen Klopp. He was introduced in an act of desperation with the words 'in these games, heroes are made' but things immediately went awry. Already 2-0 down, Schalke scored a third but Kevin Kuranyi could not make the game safe, missing a chance for four. Neven Subotic snatched one back and the stage was set for Frei. He rifled in a left-footed shot to reduce the arrears to one before a last minute penalty earned a share of the spoils for his side. He regards the encounter as "one of the best games of my career".
Crossing Over With Andi Moeller
With betrayal comes the feelings of inadequacy, anger and confusion. And it was never more acute, on both sides, when a bonafide Dortmund legend, Andreas Moeller, swapped the yellow for the blue in 2000. Moeller had won the Champions League with BvB and made the direct swap to Gelsenkirchen much to the chagrin of both sets of supporters. The Euro 96 winner's legacy at Dortmund was somewhat compromised by his move to his team's direct rivals, as was Christophe Metzelder's, who moved to Schalke from Real Madrid in 2009. His arrival was best summed up by Manuel Neuer, who said: "I don't think these things will ever change. The fans didn't love Andi Moeller, either. But they accepted him, and we won the cup with him." Interestingly, Metzelder remains a member of BvB, a fact which does not sit well with his supporters.
Emmerich was a member of the West German side which finished as runners-up in the 1966 World Cup. He is regarded as a true Dortmund icon, having spent the majority of the 60s with his hometown club and finishing as the Bundesliga's top scorer on two occasions. His most famous interventions in a derby situation went almost unnoticed though. Thick fog had engulfed the stadium in Dortmund in November 1967, to the extent that the players could barely see each other through the nebula. Despite the protestations of Schalke the game went ahead and was seen through to the end. Dortmund, thanks largely to an Emmerich hat-trick, took the spoils, 6-2. Perhaps unsurprisingly Schalke's Friedel Rausch put through his own goal too.
Weidenfeller v Asamoah
Dortmund were well beaten by Schalke, 4-1, in August 2007 but the game brought forth a sinister episode between the Schalke forward, Gerald Asamoah, and the Dortmund goalkeeper, Roman Weidenfeller. The pair clashed in the 51st minute and words were exchanged. After the encounter, Asamoah reported that the custodian had labelled him 'a black pig'. Weidenfeller vehemently denied the use of racist language but was nonetheless banned for three matches and fined €10,000. Asamoah himself drew criticism for the manner in which he celebrated Schalke's third goal of the afternoon, drawing his finger across his neck and directing it towards the Dortmund support.
A Flag In Enemy Territory
At the turn of the year, during the Bundesliga winter break, snow damage ensured that a roof panel had to be replaced at Schalke's hulking Veltins Arena. The repair process meant that 28 hardy souls were required to climb the structure and carry out their duties. One of the party, no doubt an agitator, took with him a Borussia Dortmund flag and left it on the roof for all to see. "The joke goes too far. The workers in question will never again enter our site. He was here to shovel the snow and not to decorate our arena," said Arena CEO Ulrich Dargel. Dortmund fans could naturally see the funny side.
The Yellow Wall Comes Down
The Dortmund South Terrace, die Sudtribune, is the largest single stand of its kind in Europe and it can cater for around 25,000 supporters. Dortmund are very proud of their 'Yellow Wall' and had a flag erected to declare as much in 2005. The flag was 60 metres long and each letter stood close to two metres high. However, only 18 months after its installation, the flag went missing. Suspicion immediately fell onto the fans of Schalke but no specific information of the flag's whereabouts could be traced. That was until January 2009 when Dortmund fans claimed to have seen the flag, or parts of it at least, in the Veltins Arena during the derby. Reports since the event have suggested that the flag in Gelsenkirchen was a facsimile but nobody has ever been sure of the true fate of it...
Dog Bites Man
Once Hansi Pirkle gave Schalke a 1-0 lead during the September 1969 Revierderby at Dortmund, his side's fans stormed the field in jubilation. Dortmund would bite back during the match to force a 1-1 result but there was some biting to be done by the police dogs on duty too after the goal went in. The canines were released and made victims of two of the Schalke players on the field, Friedel Rausch and Gerd Neuser. The latter was bitten on the thigh and had to be replaced in the 76th minute but Rausch, bitten on his bottom, played on through the pain after receiving his tetanus shot. Dortmund sent the stricken players some flowers and 500 marks and the DFB learned a lesson. Muzzles for police dogs. Rausch claims to have had Dortmund fans 'barking' at him in the streets since the incident. He said: "It was a real shock and it really hurt. They gave me a tetanus shot and I could only sleep on my stomach for two days. You can still see the scar on my arse. It's a everlasting memory."