Back-and-forth clash ends goalless

FC Schalke 04 and Karlsruher SC played out an entertaining 0-0 draw on Easter Sunday (31/3). The Royal Blues had a wealth of promising opportunities in the first 45, but could not find a way past opposition goalkeeper Patrick Drewes.

Four changes to the starting XI

Karel Geraerts made four alterations to the side that started in S04’s last game before the international break. Ron Schallenberg (muscle strain) made way for Marcin Kaminski, and Paul Seguin, who missed the clash in the capital through suspension, came into the side for the injured Danny Latza (calf problems). Cedric Brunner, who was sidelined against Hertha, and Keke Topp also replaced Henning Matriciani and Bryan Lasme, who were both named on the bench.

Ouwejan’s opener ruled out for offside

It did not take long for the game to burst into life, as Simon Terodde had the first big chance for the Royal Blues in the sixth minute. S04’s captain got a shot off from just outside the box after a nice one-two with Paul Seguin, but his effort was saved KSC keeper Patrick Drewes. Less than two minutes later, Budu Zivzivadze had a promising opportunity for the visitors following a corner, but Thomas Ouwejan was in the right place at the right time to make a crucial block.

S04 would have the next chance to open the scoring in the 16th minute. Cedric Brunner whipped a ball in towards Keke Topp. Schalke’s number 42 connected with the cross powerfully, but his header flew just wide of the post. Thomas Ouwejan would go one better than the youngster just two minutes later, as his strike smashed off the underside of the bar and across the line. Unfortunately for Schalke, Kenan Karaman was shown to be offside in the build-up, so the goal was chalked off.

Karaman was also right in the thick of things for Schalke’s next noteworthy chance. A sloppy pass from Paul Nebel in the middle of the park ended up at the Turkish international’s feet and he drove forward with pace. Karaman tried his luck from just outside the penalty area, but his shot took a deflection off Marcel Beifus and sailed over the bar (26’). An almost-identical scenario played out just 10 minutes after that, as Karaman slipped past two KSC defenders and got another shot off. However, his chances were scuppered once again by Beifus. The ball ballooned up in the air after deflecting off the defender, and a backpedalling Drewes was able tip the ball away from danger. Ouwejan looked to pose a threat to the Karlsruhe defence again after picking up the ball following the resulting corner. Schalke’s number 2 swung a cross in towards Karaman, but his header landed on the roof of the net.

Drewes was called into action again five minutes before the half-time whistle, as Karlsruhe’s man between the sticks reacted quickly to deny Ouwejan from close range. In added time, Drewes made a flying save to prevent Simon Terodde from giving Schalke the lead and kept his side’s clean sheet intact going into half-time.

No penalty awarded after VAR check

The Royal Blues looked to get forward as quickly as possible after the restart. Keke Topp hit the ball on the volley from range in the 48th minute, but the attempt was a little overambitious and ended up flying high and wide of his intended target. KSC also found themselves in promising positions at the start of the second 45. Paul Nebel charged into the box and had a go from an acute angle, but put too much power on the shot and saw it go over the bar (51’).

The next KSC chance fell to Budu Zivzivadze. Just as the Georgian was about to get a shot off, however, a crucial intervention from Tomas Kalas threw him off his stride and prevented an almost-certain opening goal for the away side (63’). Four minutes later, all of Marius Müller’s goalkeeping expertise was put to the test as Karlsruhe turned up the heat. Sebastian Jung laid the ball off to Paul Nebel, who was eyeing up the bottom-left corner from 14 yards out. He struck the ball towards goal with venom, but was unable to beat Schalke’s number 32. In the meantime, the Schalke attack struggled to get into second gear and seriously test Drewes again.

The Royal Blues would start to hit their stride again with 12 minutes of the match to go. Henning Matriciani latched onto a loose ball following a Schalke corner and had a go from range, but his shot fizzed off target. Just before the end of regulation time, VAR was called into action after an incident in the Karlsruhe penalty area. The ball looked to hit David Herold on the arm as he competed with Kenan Karaman and the referee went over to the pitchside monitor to get a better look at a potential handball. Upon closer inspection, he maintained that there was no foul play and did not change his original decision, which meant no penalty for S04.

Kenan Karaman would have the last chance to get the three points in the dying moments of the game. Schalke’s number 19 beat his marker to a cross from substitute Bryan Lasme, but he could not steer his header goalwards and it went just past the woodwork. The referee’s whistle blew shortly afterwards and both sides came away with a point after an attritional affair.

A trip to Hannover on Sunday

The Royal Blues will travel up north for their first game in April, as they take on Hannover 96 next Sunday (7/4). The match at the Heinz von Heiden-Arena is due to kick off at 13:30 CEST. Schalke emerged as 3-2 winners in the reverse fixture.

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