The derby between BVB and Schalke 04 is the biggest game in German football. It electrifies an entire region and keeps writing new heroic stories. After a long time, the black and yellow part of the pot can celebrate again. Because a 17-year-old is fulfilling a dream.
As the fans in Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion slowly adjusted to BVB’s first 0-0 draw since October 26, 2019, Youssoufa Moukoko rose into the air at the far post and pushed a cross from Marius Wolf over the goal line. A brutally loud “Jaaaaa” from more than 70,000 throats in the sold-out stadium with 81,100 spectators robs the guests from Schalke of all hopes of an undeserved point win. After a short sprint towards the corner flag, the striker’s eyes disappear. He tilts his head back, spreads his arms and joins in the globally admired “Westfalenstadion Roar”.
Moukoko came late into the game, which BVB dominated from the start. But after the two defeats against RB Leipzig and Manchester City, there is also a risk of losing a point against Schalke. Although Borussia always get into the last third against their inexperienced rivals, they fail there due to a lack of precision. The emergency purchase Anthony Modeste is not involved in the game and is even about to be sent off in the second half.
Already warned, he fouls Schalke keeper Alexander Schwolow. Referee Felix Brych turns a blind eye. Modeste’s commitment after record-breaking Sébastien Haller’s illness has so far been a major misunderstanding. The 34-year-old is not involved in the game and poses more danger for Schalke on Saturday than the guests’ attack line, which in the end will not have scored a single shot on Alexander Meyer’s goal.
Simon Terodde, Dominick Drexler and Marius Bülter lost the BVB defense. Behind it there are large gaps. Schalke only managed to keep the ball in their own ranks for a few minutes in the first half. Otherwise, they run after him, defend “powerfully”, as coach Frank Kramer will later call it. It’s enough for a long time.
No one was younger than Moukoko
But then BVB coach Edin Terzic brings Moukoko for the former Cologne Modeste. During the week and just before the game they talked. The 17-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the season, is impatient. “I came in and I was angry because I wanted to play from the start, but the manager decided that I would come in from the bench,” he later said in front of the cameras. That’s how he plays. He immediately causes a stir. Sent by right-back Thomas Meunier, Gio Reyna steals the ball a little later, still seems unfinished, but is becoming more and more dangerous. In the 79th minute he scores.
“It’s unbelievable. I dreamed of it,” he said later in front of the cameras: “Every day when I was young I imagined and fantasized that I would someday score a goal in front of the south stand in the derby. I worked for a long time for that .” The former child prodigy is still only 17 years old. With seven goals from 36 Bundesliga games, Moukoko now holds another record. Not only is he the youngest player to ever score a Bundesliga goal, he is also the youngest to score seven goals in the league. Many more will follow.
But nothing will be able to replace that one goal, the first goal in the derby. It catapulted him into the ranks of the Dortmund derby heroes. He’s in the history books now. Because the derby is more. It infects the Ruhr area. The derby is the biggest game in German football. But it is also one that is threatened with extinction. The guests from Schalke, who have eleven Derby debutants, are back in the Bundesliga, but their comeback after years of mismanagement is accompanied by major relegation worries. The giant from Gelsenkirchen has to hope for the competition this season. Two teams must find each other that collect fewer points. Then the derby can live on.
The German championships in civil protection
But all the uncertainty is creating an excited mood this Saturday in Dortmund. On derby days, the Ruhrpott only lives for this one game. Even the wasps have dressed up one last time. They buzz in the display of the master baker Kamms on the Dortmund market. Hungry, they pounce on the pastries and soon on the bee sting. They dodge the attacks of the bakery saleswomen and once again collect all the delicacies for their young queen. Summer is coming to an end and with it the life of most wasps.
The Dortmund fans gather on the other side of the department store on the market. Following the call “All in yellow”, the BVB fans went into town before noon. Derby day, what else can you do. Some marvel at the “German Civil Protection Championships”. Wrapped in golden rescue blankets, a few extras lie in an area cordoned off with safety tape. First aid is provided there. A judge takes notes. Whoever completes the various scenarios best becomes German champion in civil protection.
The fans don’t care much, they want to celebrate a championship in football and before that they want to win the derby. It’s all won on the pitch, not behind the tape. The supporters of the black and yellow left the market and headed towards the stadium singing, with six-carriers full of beer. On the other side, the Schalke fans coming from the south are also heading in the direction of Strobelallee. They, the ultras, will arrive late and only storm into the away block and sing their songs in the 17th minute of the game. You haven’t heard it in the Westfalenstadion for a long time. You are badly remembered by Dortmunders.
The day the master dreams died
The last real derby in Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion cost Borussia the championship in the 2018/2019 season. The team of the then coach Lucien Favre simply went under with 2: 4 on April 27, 2019. By the way, red cards for Marco Reus and Marius Wolf after jumping in tackles do her in a game that quickly turns after the early BVB lead. A lighter throw at Jadon Sancho, a VAR call and the visitors take charge. Borussia surrender to their lack of ambition and give Bayern one more race until the last day of the game. Unsuccessful.
Once again the derby made history. Like the 4:4 after a 4:0 lead by Dortmund, like the 3:3 after a 0:3 deficit and like the mother of all derbies from Dortmund’s point of view on May 12, 2007. A 2:0, the championship dreams of the Schalke finished. As we now know: possibly forever.
Everything is different in the pandemic. Games without fans. Games without competition. Schalke fell too far, the situation is too clear. When football returns after the first lockdown in May 2020 and the world watches the Bundesliga in lockdown, BVB wins 4-0. Erling Haaland’s celebration in the empty stadium is iconic. In front of the television in Birmingham, Jude Bellingham makes a decision: It should not be Manchester United, not Bayern Munich, but Borussia Dortmund.
The world is watching Dortmund
He has long since replaced Haaland, who has migrated to Manchester City, as the crowd’s favourite, and he has never played a derby in front of spectators. In his 100th competitive game for BVB, it is only his second derby ever. In Bellingham’s first derby, the opponent is no longer an opponent. At 4-0 on February 20, 2021 in the Schalker Veltins Arena, Haaland is spectacular in the air. A drill for the Norwegian’s 2-1 win against his old club in the Champions League.
The Derby. it’s back And with it the impact of the story, which is told in epic breadth in the “City Anzeiger”, the local advertising newspaper. The front page promises the best stories “from the history of the ‘mother of all derbies'” to “get you in the mood for THE classic”. The meeting of the heavyweights from the Ruhr area is also a last pound of the league, which is internationally in difficult waters.
For them, the derby is a “showpiece event”. The league doesn’t have that much to say anymore, even if Bayern are finally working on it again this season. Reporters have been brought to Dortmund from a number of countries to report on the fascination of Revierderby. After the game, the coaches answer questions from numerous TV stations from all over the world.
“The Cutest Three Dots”
The Dortmund team does a lap of honor on the pitch. When they arrive in front of the guest stand, they wave to Schalke. They are foaming with anger, the joy is reflected in the faces of the BVB players. About the victory, about the sudden lead in the table and certainly also about the greetings to the fans who gave Marco Reus a mocking “goodbye” after his injury.
In the south stand, which sunk in a sea of pyrotechnics before the game, Dortmund are now demanding coach Edin Terzic. Already at the final whistle he clenches his fist. Now he looks in front of the grandstand where he once stood. Before the game he spoke about his derby fear. He’s afraid to congratulate the opposing coach on the win. “It’s the sweetest three points we can get this season,” he says.
One side celebrates its first derby victory in front of spectators since a 3-2 win on November 8, 2015. Max Meyer, Jan-Klaas Huntelaar, Joel Matip, Leon Goretzka, Pierre Emile Höjbjerg, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Leroy Sané play for Schalke. Youssoufa Moukoko was ten years old at the time. “I know what’s going on in his world,” says Terzic, the Moukoko whisperer, on Saturday. “I still have a lot of time, my time is far from over,” says Moukoko at Sport1 and is already reminiscing: “I only saw how the yellow wall went crazy. That was very nice.”