5-3 defeat in Düsseldorf

FC Schalke 04 were beaten 5-3 by Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday night (25/11). After trailing 3-0 and 4-1, Karel Geraerts’ side fought back to make it 4-3 late on and even came close to finding an equaliser, however the hosts sealed the three points in injury time.

Fährmann back in goal

There was just one change to the team from the last game before the recent international break against SV Elversberg. Ralf Fährmann, who was set to start that match but had to pull out in the warm-up due to a muscular issue, was fit again to take Justin Heekeren’s place in goal. Cedric Brunner, who was out for around six weeks with a groin problem, was not yet fit enough to make the squad after a lack of training.

Three Fortuna goals in the first half

It was a slow start to the game at the Merkur Spiel-Arena. The hosts looked to take their time while building up the play, while Schalke sat back looking for chances to break. This resulted in the first shot of the evening, taken by Marcin Kaminski from distance, though the defender couldn’t get his effort on target.

Shortly after that, Fortuna had their first opportunity and that led to their first goal too. Nicolas Gavory hung a cross up to the back post for Vincent Vermeij and his header back past Fährmann found the back of the net for 1-0 (12’). Felix Klaus doubled Düsseldorf’s lead seven minutes later. He was in the right place to get on the end of Christos Tzolis’ ball into the box and then stabbed the ball home with his toe in the six-yard box.

The home team continued to control proceedings and soon added a third goal. Vincent Vermeij headed in from just a yard or two out after the ball looped up in the air after Christos Tzolis’ attempt hit the post (26’).

Karel Geraerts reacted to the poor start by making a triple change in the 33rd minute, as well as switching to a back-four instead of a back-three. This allowed the Royal Blues more of the ball, though it took them until injury time of the first half to have another chance. Tomas Kalas slipped the ball in behind the Fortuna defence for Kenan Karaman, whose shot was straight at goalkeeper Florian Kastenmaier.

Three Schalke goals in the second half

The first chance of the second half belonged to Fortuna as Christos Tziolis curled one past the far post from the left wing (50’). S04 were able to get on the scoresheet for the first time seven minutes after that. Marcin Kaminski drove the ball home on his left foot via the inside of the post from a Lasme knock down (57’).

The home side restored their three-goal advantage eight minutes after Kaminski’s goal. Christos Tziolis was on the left side of the box, shifted the ball onto his right foot and hammered it into the top corner, leaving Fährmann with no chance (66’). Felix Klaus could have made it 5-1 too were it not for Fährmann, who beat away his swerving effort (71’).

The goals continued to flow, and this time in favour of Schalke. Tomas Kalas headed in Tobias Mohr’s cross at the back post (74’) and then Bryan Lasme got S04’s third just a minute later. He ran onto a pass from Blendi Idrizi and then got the better of Kastenmaier in the Düsseldorf goal.

Schalke threw everything they could at Fortuna in the closing stages to find an equaliser. The potential comeback evoked memories of the legendary 4-4 draw in Dortmund, which just so happened to be exactly six years ago to the day. This time around though, S04 were lacking Naldo: Kenan Karaman dribbled past a defender after Keke Topp’s back-heel pass, but his shot was well saved by Kastenmaier. Sebastian Polter then got a shot away on his left foot, however he couldn’t get enough on it and it was a comfortable stop for Kastenmaier.

With the majority of the Schalke team camped in the Fortuna half in injury time, they were able to score a fifth goal from a counter-attack. Dennis Jastrzembski sprinted forward into the space afforded to him and passed it to fellow substitute Jona Niemiec, who found the back of the net and finally decided the game (90+4’).

December begins with a home game

S04’s next fixture is a home game against VfL Osnabrück. They will visit the VELTINS-Arena on Friday (1/12) at 18:30 CET.

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