2-1 win in Augsburg – Schalke secure second and European football
Schalke’s return to Champions League football is complete! Courtesy of a 2-1 win in Augsburg, FC Schalke 04 ensured they will be participating in next season’s Champions League. Both goals in the WWK Arena came from Thilo Kehrer. Due to Dortmund’s 2-1 loss to Mainz, the Knappen have also confirmed a second placed finish in the Bundesliga.
McKennie replaces suspended Bentaleb
Weston McKennie came into the starting XI in place of Nabil Bentaleb who picked up a red card in last weekend’s clash with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Also, Franco di Santo came in for Amine Harit. For the first time since rejoining the club in winter, Abdul Rahman Baba was in the matchday squad as he returned from a knee injury.
Kehrer bags a brace
The Royal Blues needed time to find their feet in the game and it was the hosts who controlled the opening stages. Alfred Finnbogason had the first chance of the game as he capitalised on a mix-up between Thilo Kehrer and Ralf Fährmann. His effort hit the post and rolled along the line before being clutched by Ralf Fährmann. However, from almost nothing, Schalke took the lead in the 23rd minute. Thilo Kehrer got a flick on Guido Burgstaller’s cross to put Schalke ahead.
The lead didn’t last long though. Four minutes later, Augsburg were level. Former Schalke player, and son of Martin, Philipp Max equalised after a quickly taken free-kick from Daniel Baier. The Knappen had to regroup and created chances once more. Yevhen Konoplyanka hit the post and it bounced out to Franco di Santo but Marwin Hitz recovered to gather on the line. Minutes later, Thilo Kehrer flicked on a Daniel Caligiuri corner and the ball deflected off Alfred Finnbogason to put Schalke 2-1 up.
No goals after the break
After the break, the game retained its interest but neither team was able to make the best of their goalscoring opportunities. Marco Richter finally put the ball in the net but was narrowly offside to the hosts’ disappointment.
The Royal Blues were unable to score a third goal to see off the game. After an hour on the clock, Yevhen Konoplyanka had a good opportunity but couldn’t beat Marwin Hitz at close-range. In the closing stages, Cedric Teuchert had a chance to opening his Bundesliga account but his effort was saved by Hitz as well. Then, the final whistle blew!
Phenomenal support from fans
Straight after the game, head coach Domenico Tedesco gathered his team in a huddle. The team went over to the fans to thank them for their phenomenal support.
Schalke will finish the season on Saturday at home against Eintracht Frankfurt at 15:30 CEST.