Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang claimed his 14th Bundesliga goal of the season as Borussia Dortmund edged past arch-rivals Schalke to win a tense Ruhr derby 3-2 on Sunday.
Aubameyang joined Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski as the league’s top scorer by netting Dortmund’s third after Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa and Germany defender Matthias Ginter had netted at Borussia’s Signal Iduna Park stadium.
Schalke are now winless in their last six matches, but the Royal Blues fought to the end as Netherlands striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored goals in each half following mistakes in the Dortmund defence.
“There was no need for it to have been so tense at the end,” admitted Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel as his side enjoyed their seventh-straight win in all competitions.
“We had so many high-quality chances that we could have made it 4-1, but I had the feeling that the players didn’t want to make any mistakes, which made us tense.”
The result leaves second-placed Dortmund five points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern, and eight points clear of third-placed Wolfsburg, while Schalke stay fifth.
After Kagawa gave Dortmund a 30th-minute lead with a rare header, Huntelaar equalised three minutes later after Borussia captain Mats Hummels gave the ball away.
The hosts then netted twice as Ginter was left unmarked at a corner on 43 minutes as it finished 2-1 at the break.
Aubameyang then slotted what proved to be the winning goal after a superb final pass from Gonzalo Castro, who started on the left wing in place of injured Germany star Marco Reus.
Aubameyang received a yellow card after pulling off his shirt in celebration to reveal a T-shirt bearing the text ‘Do you remember?’ under the Batman logo, having donned a “Caped Crusader” outfit in the derby last February when he also scored in a 3-0 win over Schalke.
But Huntelaar grabbed his second when Dortmund centre-back Sokratis tried to back-heel a cross, but the ball landed at the feet of the Dutch player who slotted home on 71 minutes.
Schalke’s Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg hit the post with ten minutes to go, then cleared a Dortmund shot off the line in the dying stages.
Bayern Hammer VFB Stuttgart
Aubameyang is again the league’s joint top-scorer alongside Lewandowski, who netted his 14th league goal in Bayern’s 4-0 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.
The Bavarian giants’ star-studded attack ran riot with Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and Thomas Mueller also getting on the scoresheet as defeat pushed Stuttgart back into the bottom three.
Bayern have turned the Allianz Arena into a fortress by scoring 28 goals in their last six home games, conceding just three, and have now claimed 34 points from 36 and are the only unbeaten team in Germany’s top flight.
Wolfsburg, last season’s runners-up, are now 13 points adrift of Bayern after crashing to a 2-0 defeat at Mainz as Pablo de Blasis and Yunus Mali scored.
Wolfsburg also had Germany midfielder Julian Draxler sent off early on.
Fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen were also beaten as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to neighbours Cologne in the Rhine derby as defender Dominic Maroh scored the visitors goals while Javier Hernandez scored for the sixth match running.
His Leverkusen team was reduced to 10 men when defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos was shown a red card for bringing down Cologne striker Anthony Modeste when he was through on goal.
Hoffenheim remain second from bottom after their goalless draw with Eintracht Frankfurt while Hamburg drew 1-1 at Darmstadt as Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by Marcel Heller’s equaliser for hosts Darmstadt.
Borussia Moenchengladbach had their six-match winning streak under caretaker coach Andre Schubert ended by a goalless draw at home to Ingolstadt.
On Friday, Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou grabbed a hat-trick to steer Hertha Berlin to a 3-1 win at Hanover and into the top four.