3-0 defeat in Frankfurt despite a solid performance

Despite a good display for large parts of the game, FC Schalke 04 were beaten 3-0 away at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon (21/1). The Royal Blues failed to take their good chances in both halves and were punished for it. Jesper Lindström (22’), Rafael Borré (84’) and Aurelio Buta (90’) got the goals for the hosts.

Three Bundesliga debuts

Head coach Thomas Reis went with a 4-2-3-1 formation for the first league game of 2023. Two players in the starting XI were handed a Bundesliga debut. Jere Uronen, who signed on loan from Stade Brest in the winter break, played at left-back, while Soichiro Kozuki, promoted from the U23s, started on the right wing. Another new signing, Michael Frey, made his first appearance when he came on in the 82nd minute. He only joined the club on loan from Royal Antwerp yesterday.

The woodwork denies Schalke twice

Schalke began with real confidence and got stuck in right from the first whistle. The first chance came after just two minutes from a free-kick. Danny Latza, who was himself fouled, took it but could only hit it into the wall. Randal Kolo Muani had Frankfurt’s first opportunity as he raced in behind the Schalke defence. Just as he got into the box and shot, a defender got back to deflect it wide (5’). The France international was again involved 11 minutes later. He scuffed his shot wide after a one-two with Mario Götze on the edge of the box.

Debutant Soichiro Kozuki was extremely bright down the right flank and tried his luck in the 21st minute from a tight angle, though it went well wide. Almost immediately afterwards, Eintracht took the lead. Jesper Lindström received the ball from Kolo Muani, dribbled past Henning Matriciani on the edge of the box and then buried his shot past Alexander Schwolow in the Schalke goal (22’).

Schalke dealt well with going behind and pushed for an immediate response. The first of a few good chances within a few minutes came when Simon Terodde was inches away from getting on the end of an enticing Bülter cross along the floor of the box (27’). 60 seconds later, Kevin Trapp brilliantly denied Terodde. His header from a Danny Latza cross was destined for the back of the net, but Trapp tipped it onto the post and wide.

Four minutes later, Soichiro Kozuki hit the woodwork too. The Japanese winger struck the outside of the post, again from a difficult position. He set up Marius Bülter in the 33rd minute, and he had his promising shot blocked by Evan Ndicka. The final two chances of the first half belonged to SGE. The goalscorer Lindström cleared the bar (37’), then Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe did the same on the stroke of half time.

Two late goals

Schalke came close to immediately getting back on level terms at the start of the second half. Jere Uronen’s free-kick found Kozuki, who headed towards goal, only to see Kevin Trapp again pull off a fine save (47’). Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe hit the side-netting at the other end from a decent position (51’).

The away side continued to search for an equaliser and had further opportunities. Terodde had a shot blocked (52’), as did Latza (53’), and then Jordan Larsson fired well over the goal from the rebound. Just a minute after that, Terodde saw his header go over from a Bülter delivery.

The majority of the game following these chances was played in the middle of the park. Frankfurt defended well and were able to keep things tight, even though S04 had more possession over the 90 minutes.

Last season’s Europa League winners only sealed the win in the closing stages. After Jere Uronen had blocked a powerful shot by Daichi Kamada (80’), substitute Rafael Borré made it 2-0 four minutes later. He received the ball from Lindström, cut inside and then toe-poked it into the bottom corner (84’). The Colombian turned provider in added time, setting up Aurelio Buta’s goal in the 91st minute. That meant it ended 3-0 to Frankfurt, a scoreline which didn’t really reflect the run of play.

Two home games next week

Schalke’s next opponent is another team in the Champions League, RB Leipzig. They will visit the VELTINS-Arena on Tuesday night, the final game of the first half of the season (24/1, 18:30 CET). 1. FC Köln will then come to Gelsenkirchen five days later, with kick off at 15:30 CET for that one.

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