Royal Blues seal survival in style

FC Schalke 04 defeated VfL Osnabrück 4-0 at the Millerntor-Stadion in Hamburg on Tuesday evening (7/5). The win means that S04’s place in next season’s 2. Bundesliga is mathematically certain. Keke Topp netted a brace, with Assan Ouédraogo and Kenan Karaman also bagging goals for Karel Geraerts’ side.

First start for van der Sloot

There was one change to the Schalke side that shared the points with Fortuna Düsseldorf last time out. Steven van der Sloot was named in the starting XI for the very first time, replacing Brandon Soopy, who will miss the rest of the season after undergoing thigh surgery.

Two quick-fire goals for Royal Blues

It only took Schalke two minutes to open the scoring courtesy of Keke Topp. Yusuf Kabadayi played Thomas Ouwejan through down the left wing and the Dutchman’s cross found Simon Terodde, who chested the ball down to Topp. S04’s number 42 swept the ball past Osnabrück keeper Philipp Kühn to get the Royal Blues off to the perfect start (2’). Things would only get better for Schalke, as they doubled their advantage three minutes later. Ron Schallenberg passed the ball to Kenan Karaman on the edge of the box, who turned, lined his shot up and found the bottom left corner to extend Schalke’s lead (5’).

Topp, Terodde miss chances to make it 3-0

Schalke took their foot off the gas a little after the second goal and allowed Osnabrück back into the game. The Purple-Whites were unable to convert any of their possession into chances, however, as the S04 defence stayed vigilant. Athanasios Androutsos had VfL’s best opportunity of the first half in the 39th minute with a shot from range, but it did not cause any problems for Marius Müller.

The Knappen looked much more likely to get a third goal than Osnabrück did to opening their account. Paul Seguin stood over a free-kick on the edge of the box after half an hour of play, but his effort did not have enough dip on it and hit the roof of the net. In the 42nd minute, Kühn did just enough to keep Keke Topp’s placed header out. Shortly afterwards, Simon Terodde sized up the bottom-left corner, but his effort was always curling away from goal and ended up missing the target by millimetres.

Promising start to second 45

Kenan Karaman was unable to continue after picking up a knock towards the end of the first half, with Assan Ouédraogo taking his place in the Schalke midfield. Just like in the first half, the Royal Blues raced out of the blocks, but were unable to find the back of the net as easily as they did in that five-minute spell at the start of the game. Terodde laid the ball off to Ouwejan in the Osnabrück box, but his shot was blocked. A corner was whipped in towards the back post, where Assan Ouédraogo was lingering with intent, but the 17-year-old could not convert from close range (47’). The next chance fell to Yusuf Kabadayi, but his effort was kept out by Kühn (51’). Ouédraogo waltzed past a number of opposition defenders less than a minute later, but Maxwell Gyamfi’s crucial intervention neutralised the danger (52’).

Ouédraogo, Topp seal the deal

S04 were eventually rewarded for their efforts with two more well-deserved goals. After watching another free-kick go narrowly over the crossbar (57’), Paul Seguin played Assan Ouédraogo through on goal. The 17-year-old sidestepped Gyamfi before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner to make it 3-0 to the Knappen. With a quarter of an hour to go, the ball landed at Keke Topp’s feet in the box. The attacker’s strike found the back of the net for his second, and Schalke’s fourth of the evening. The Royal Blues could have extended their advantage even earlier than that, as Kühn palmed another effort from Ouédraogo away from goal in the 73rd minute before Ouwejan fired over a minute later.

VfL had three decent chances to get themselves back in the game in the second half. Dave Gnaase’s free-kick from the edge of the penalty area looked promising, but a sharp save from Marius Müller was enough to deny the midfielder (67’). The Royal Blues’ keeper was called into action again shortly before the end of time, as he diverted Kwasi Wriedt’s header away from goal (85’). Florian Kleinhansl got a shot off from the resulting corner, but Müller came out on top on this occasion, too. Simon Terodde had the chance to put the cherry on top of a fantastic performance from the Royal Blues with a fifth goal in the 90th minute, but his header came to nothing. While S04 confirmed their place in next season’s 2. Bundesliga. the loss also sealed Osnabrück’s fate, as the Purple-Whites will drop back down to the 3. Liga.

Matchday 33 clash against Hansa Rostock

Schalke will play their final home game of the 23/24 2. Bundesliga season on Saturday (11/5) against Hansa Rostock. The game at the VELTINS-Area will get underway at 13:00 CEST.

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