Borussia Dortmund missed the chance to pull clear of rivals Schalke in the Bundesliga table as they were held to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday.
With the title on its way back to Bavaria following Bayern Munich’s victory over Hertha Berlin, attention now turns to the race to secure UEFA Champions League qualification, with Dortmund and Schalke set to battle it out for second spot.
Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated large spells of the Revierderby, but the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were all denied by Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann to leave the hosts frustrated at the Signal-Iduna Park.
In an ill-tempered first half, the ball spent most of its time in midfield, although both teams’ main strikers, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lewandowski, missed chances to break the deadlock.
Fahrmann was the star of the second half, though, as the 25-year-old made a string of fine saves to keep third-placed Schalke within a point of their neighbours with seven games remaining.
The visitors settled well and created the first sight of goal in the fourth minute as Sead Kolasinac escaped the attentions of Lukasz Piszczek on the left, before lifting a ball into the penalty area only for the usually lethal Huntelaar to balloon his shot over the crossbar.
Another surprising miss came two minutes later as Dortmund threatened on the counter-attack, and Erik Durm found space on the left wing and delivered onto the head of Lewandowski.
The unmarked Poland international rose to meet the cross on the penalty spot, but he uncharacteristically headed well wide of goal.
As is often the case during local derbies, both sides struggled to keep hold of the ball in a frenetic game that lacked cutting edge in the final third but featured plenty of robust challenges in the middle of the pitch.
With chances at a premium, the best opportunity of the half fell to Mkhitaryan on the half-hour mark. The Armenian received a pull back from Durm but his low drive was pushed away by Fahrmann.
Dortmund finished the half strongly and Reus wasted another opportunity in the closing minutes as he volleyed wide from the inside the penalty area.
Reus was again on hand at the start of the second half as Mkhitaryan and Kevin Grosskreutz worked an opening on the right, but the 24-year-old was unable to bundle the low cross past Fahrmann.
Dortmund were beginning to apply real pressure on the Schalke goal without being able to put a shot on target, and they were lucky not to be behind as Roman Neustadter headed straight at Roman Weidenfeller on the hour.
Klopp’s men continued to push, but they found Fahrmann in fine form as he first denied Lewandowski with his feet before then denying Reus.
Even the return off the bench of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who scored the opening goal in Dortmund’s 3-1 win in the reverse fixture – could not unlock the Schalke defence, compounding a frustrating evening for the home side.