Back-heel brilliance: Marius Bülter lights up the VELTINS-Arena once more
A cross in from the right, a wonderful heel-flick from Marius Bülter and celebrations for FC Schalke 04 – for the second time in recent memory, this story repeated itself as the Royal Blues beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 at home on Saturday (25/02). Schalke’s number 11 repeated the same feat back in November 2021, as he flicked a goal home against SV Sandhausen in the 2. Bundesliga.
That day, it was Reinhold Ranftl who set up the goal, which was nominated for Goal of the Month. This time, against VfB, it was Rodrigo Zalazar, who evaded Borna Sosa on the right wing, his cross then finding Bülter in the 40th minute. “It was instinctive. The ball was a bit behind me, so it was the only way I could get the ball on target,” Bülter explained. His piece of skill gave the Schalker in the stands at the VELTINS-Arena a second goal of the evening to celebrate. Half an hour beforehand, Dominick Drexler gave the home side the lead, heading home Michael Frey’s cross. “We had a lot of situations where we could hit crosses from wide areas into the middle and create dangerous chances. That meant we were able to score twice,” said Bülter, who added that the team had studied those scenarios in the week leading up to the game. “It just feels great to be scoring goals once again,” said the winger.
The whole club and the fans here in the stadium have been longing for three points – we have been too.
Much more important than the beauty of the goal was the fact that as a whole, the team were able to get the ball within sight of the opposition net and reward their efforts with a win. “The whole club and the fans here in the stadium have been longing for three points – we have been too,” said Bülter.
Togetherness in the fight for survival
The win wasn’t without its nerves, though – right up to the final whistle, Schalker fingernails were being bitten as a shot from Borna Sosa slipped past Ralf Fährmann to make it 2-1 with just over 25 minutes to go. “Ralle’s really frustrated with himself about the goal, but you have to say that especially in the second half, where we really started off under pressure, he dealt with two or three shots very well,” emphasised Schalke’s number 11.
All things considered, the second half could have taken a very different path, but through passion and several Fährmann saves, the Knappen brought the three points over the line. “The fact that we didn’t have the confidence to see the game out calmly was clear, given how long it’s been since we last one,” explained Bülter, adding that the goal of survival in the Bundesliga is only possible with togetherness – this togetherness, he said, can be felt now more than ever before on the pitch. The fans cheer the team on unwaveringly, and the players repay them with 100% of their commitment.
Unconditional support from the fans
One of the most important days was January 28th, says Bülter, when several thousand Schalke fans travelled to the turning-on ceremony of the new floodlights at the Parkstadion, and gave their full support to the team during their training session. “You can see what we can create here.”
This is just the beginning – we have a long, long road ahead of us.
The win against VfB brought Schalke back within three points of safety. “This is just the beginning – we have a long, long road ahead of us,” remarked Bülter, who is already looking ahead to next Saturday’s local duel at VfL Bochum. “This game is a massive opportunity for us. With a win we’ll be level on points with Bochum and ahead on goal difference, so that’s a big incentive for us.”