Bittencourt stunner gives Werder a 1-0 win
FC Schalke 04’s wait for a second league win in 2020 goes on. The Royal Blues were beaten 1-0 by Werder Bremen on Saturday afternoon (30/5), with a long-range Leonardo Bittencourt effort giving the visitors the three points (32’).
Four changes to the starting XI
Head coach David Wagner made four alterations to the team that lost in Düsseldorf on Wednesday night. Alexander Nübel returned in goal, coming in for Markus Schubert, while Jean-Clair Todibo, Juan Miranda and Michael Gregoritsch all replaced Matija Nastasic, Bastian Oczipka and Guido Burgstaller.
Bittencourt scores a stunner
The visitors began the stronger of the two sides, enjoying the majority of the ball, as they looked to find an early goal. The first half an hour saw little key action, with both Alexander Nübel and Jiri Pavlenka not called upon in goal.
The game saw a lot of tackles made, resulting in referee Felix Zwayer having to intervene, meaning the game lacked a real flow to it. Despite this, Werder found the opening goal after 32 minutes. Jean-Clair Todibo lost the ball in the midfield, and was subsequently punished by Leonardo Bittencourt’s 20-yard stunner into the top corner after Klaassen and Rashica had initiated the break.
Weston McKennie came close to an equaliser five minutes after S04 went behind. Juan Miranda’s free kick was met at the back post by the American, however his header narrowly went past the post. Bittencourt had the final shot of the first half, although this one failed to trouble Alex Nübel (39’).
Schalke dominant after the break
David Wagner made two changes at the start of the second half: Bastian Oczipka and Benito Raman replaced Rabbi Matondo and Jean-Clair Todibo as the Royal Blues switched to a 4-4-2 formation. This proved somewhat effective, as S04 gained control of the game and were the better side after the break.
Weston McKennie was unsuccessful with his effort less than 120 seconds after the restart, before Pavlenka expertly denied Benito Raman’s effort from a tight angle in the 53rd minute. Minutes later, Michael Gregoritsch saw his well-struck volley fly just over the Werder crossbar (57’).
Schalke continued to press and enjoyed much more of the ball than they had in the first half. They weren’t, however, able to continue putting Pavlenka under pressure as Werder held firm at the back in their quest for a key away win. The visitors themselves could have scored another goal in the 88th minute. Yuya Osako was through one-on-one against Nübel, but instead of shooting, he tried to cut it back to Davy Klaassen, who wasn’t in a great position and couldn’t get on the end of the pass. It therefore ended 1-0 to Werder.
First away match at Union up next
The Royal Blues next Bundesliga match will come on Sunday, 7th June (15:30 CEST) away at Union Berlin – Schalke’s first ever trip to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.