2-2 in Berlin – A strong performance earns a point at Hertha

FC Schalke 04 missed the chance to win their third straight Bundesliga game on Friday (25/1). The Royal Blues draw 2-2 with Hertha BSC. Yehven Konoplyanka and Mark Uth scored for Schalke, while Marko Grujic and Vedad Ibisevic scored Hertha’s goals.

Konoplyanka replaces the suspended McKennie

Head coach Domenico Tedesco made just the one change to the team that beat VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 last Saturday (20/1). Yehven Konoplyanka returned from injury to replace Weston McKennie, who was suspended after picking up five yellow cards.

Equaliser on the stroke of half time

The Royal Blues started the game well, with Steven Skrzybski having the first chance after just 15 seconds. The Berlin-born striker’s shot was saved by home keeper Rune Jarstein.

In the 13th minute every Schalke would surely have been holding their breath when Hertha’s Karim Rekik put in a bad tackle on Alessandro Schöpf, catching him on his leg. The Austrian was able to carry on before coming off 15 minutes later for Suat Serdar. Benjamin Stambouli also suffered a knock after a collision with Arne Maier in the 19th minute, and like Serdar, was taken off in the 33rd minute for Nabil Bentaleb.

Before these two incidents, Schalke had already taken the lead. Yehven Konoplyanka picked up the ball on the edge of the box and curled it into the far corner (17’). The lead lasted until the 39th minute: Marko Grujic equalised for Hertha after an extravagant pass from Ondrej Duda.

The Royal Blues responded very well to Hertha’s equaliser and restored their lead just before hal time. Bastian Oczipka made space for a cross from the left flank and picked out a wide open Mark Uth on the edge of the box. The Germany international curled the ball into the corner of the net to give Schalke the lead once again (44′).

However, Schalke were unable to hold on to their lead until the interval. Davie Selke crossed from the right side of the penalty area and picked out Vedad Ibisevic, who headed beyond Nübel to equalise at 2-2 (45+4′). The Royal Blues were unable to fully reward themselves for a strong first half performance, especially in attack.

Sané’s header goes just over the bar at the death

The second half began evenly, with both teams failing to continue their attacking play early on. That changed in the 61st minute when Davie Selke got through one-on-one with Alexander Nübel. The striker released a powerful shot, but Nübel was equal to it.

Following some early wobbles, Schalke became more dangerous in front of goal once more. Nabil Bentaleb tried a long range shot in the 63rd minute which was heavily deflected and didn’t trouble Rune Jarstein. Then, the Royal Blues created two good chances to take the lead for the third time in the match. Steven Skrzybski played in Suat Serdar after a counter attack, but Serdar was denied by Jarstein. Skrzybski had a chance of his own three minutes later, but his left footed shot was also parried by Jarstein. The Berlin-born attacker was substituted in the 76th minute after picking up an injury. He was replaced by Ahmed Kutucu.

In the closing stages, Schalke tried to create one more opening to take all three points. However, the best chance for the visitors fell to Salif Sane, who fired a header over the bar following a Daniel Caligiuri free-kick. The match ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Next up: a home clash with the Foals

Schalke will return home to the VELTINS-Arena next Saturday as they host Borussia Mönchengladbach (18:30 CET).

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