Schalke's heroics and the greatest Bundesliga comebacks of all time
Following Schalke‘s astonishing fightback from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 away to Revierderby rivals Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, we take a look at where it stands among the remarkable Bundesliga fightbacks over the years.
Domenico Tedesco’s side looked to be out for the count when Raphael Guerreiro’s superb volley put Dortmund 4-0 up after 25 minutes, especially with youngsters Weston McKennie and Thilo Kehrer walking a tightrope after earning yellow cards in a predictably fierce opening period.
Watch: Schalke’s Leon Goretzka reacts to his side’s comeback in Dortmund
Yet a truly astonishing second half turnaround was to come, as the Royal Blues gradually chipped away at their hosts’ lead, with Naldo’s equaliser in the 94th minute sparking wild celebrations in front of the travelling fans.
To put it into context Schalke’s achievement was only the second time in Bundesliga history that a team has clawed back a four-goal deficit to take at least a point from the game.
18 September 1976: Bochum 5-6 Bayern Munich
The first instance happened 41 years ago in 1976. A star-studded Bayern Munich side that included club legends Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller, as well as current CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Uli Hoeneß, were away to Bochum but found themselves 4-0 down after 53 minutes.
That fourth goal finally triggered a reaction from Bayern, as Rummenigge pulled one back just two minutes later. Suddenly the Bavarians were on fire, and goals from Georg Schwarzenbeck, Hoeneß and a brace from Müller in the ensuing 20 minutes put Bayern 5-4 up. Incredibly, Bochum still equalised in the 80th minute before Hoeneß grabbed his second of the game shortly before full-time to secure a 6-5 victory for the visitors.
11 September 2016: Mainz 4-4 Hoffenheim
While comebacks from a four-goal disadvantage are rare feats, over the years there have been 40 instances of teams overcoming three-goal deficits. The most recent case in the Bundesliga prior to Schalke’s Revierderby heroics was in September 2016. Julian Nagelsmann had only been at the helm at Hoffenheim for a matter of months, and things did not look good for the rookie coach on Matchday 2 of his first full season in top-flight management.
Two goals from Pablo De Blasis and one from Jhon Cordoba put Mainz 3-0 ahead after just 27 minutes, and although Sandro Wagner got Hoffenheim off the mark shortly afterwards, Levin Öztunalo made it 4-1 to the home side just before half-time.
Mainz’s Gaetan Bussmann was sent off early in the second period, offering a glimpse of hope to the visitors. They duly took full advantage and Mark Uth’s quickfire brace in the 71st and 72nd minutes set up a barnstorming finale. Adam Szalai completed Hoffenheim’s revival in the 84th minute to snatch an unlikely, if deserved, point.
Watch: Hoffenheim’s fightback in Mainz
28 August 2010: Wolfsburg 3-4 Mainz
Earning a draw after being several goals behind is one thing, but to win is even more unusual and you have to go all the way back to August 2010 to find the last example. Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg looked to be cruising at home to Mainz after half an hour following an Edin Dzeko double and an effort from Diego, but the visitors – urged on by then coach Thomas Tuchel – had other ideas.
Mainz struck either side of half-time to set the Wolves on edge, and they continued to push for an equaliser. Andre Schürrle duly levelled matters in the 58th minute, but Tuchel’s charges sensed blood and were not finished there, with Adam Szalai eventually firing in the winner five minutes before the final whistle. Hoffenheim subsequently went unbeaten for the entire first half of the 2016/17 season en route to finishing fourth.
20 October 1973: Kaiserslautern 7-4 Bayern Munich
Bayern have also been on the receiving end of a match being turned on its head, even in their golden era of the 1970s. A Bernd Gersdorff brace and one from Gerd Müller put Bayern 3-0 in front after just 36 minutes in Kaiserslautern. The hosts pulled one back just before half-time, but nobody could have predicted what was to come when Müller scored his second of the game to make it 4-1 to Bayern.
Inexplicably, Hoeneß, Beckenbauer and Co seemed to ease off and the home team equalised by the 73rd minute. Gersdorff’s sending off moments later was the beginning of a Bayern implosion and Kaiserslautern scored three more in the final six minutes to record a 7-4 victory.
It was the first and to date only time in Bundesliga history that a team has been down by three goals and still gone on to win by more than one goal.