Goalless draw in Mainz
Schalke and Mainz couldn’t be separated on Sunday evening (16/2), with Weston McKennie missing a golden chance at death for the Royal Blues.
Kenny returns from injury to start
David Wagner made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with SC Paderborn last time out. Jonjoe Kenny, who had been out with an ankle injury, replaced Timo Becker at right back, while Jean-Clair Todibo came into the team for Ozan Kabak, who was only fit enough to take his place on the bench.
FSV with the better chances
A slow start to the game saw the hosts have the first opportunity through Levin Öztunali, with his long-range shot not good enough to beat Alex Nübel. Matija Nastasic was then on hand to block a potential chance for ex-Schalker Adam Szalai after a quarter of an hour.
Despite the Royal Blues enjoying more of the ball, Wagner’s side couldn’t muster up any chances in the opening stages. Mainz’s Leandro Barreiro overhead kick missed the target (25’), before Nastasic and Nübel combined to deny Szalai after a Brosinski cross was headed on by Baku.
Nastasic with the best chance for Schalke in the first half
The Knappen had plenty of chances within the last 15 minutes of the first half. First it was a cross from Bastian Oczipka which ended up being too long for Benito Raman (31′), then Nastasic put in a dangerous header after an Oczipka free kick but a smart save by Zentner prevented what would’ve been a certain goal (34′). A Schöpf cross then reached Michael Gregoritsch in the penalty area but after the forward turned and struck at goal, the Mainz keeper was there again to prevent Schalke from going ahead. The game swung on a pendulum and the last few chances of the half belonged to the home side. Brosinski’s cross found Danny Latza in the area but the Mainz man failed to score as the ball whistled wide of the left hand post. And so the teams went in at half time with the game scoreless.
McKennie’s shot goes close
Schalke came out of the blocks well at the start of the second half and came close to finding the first goal in the 49th minute. Omar Mascarell’s cross was cleared to Weston McKennie, who fired a half-volley towards goal from 20 yards away, narrowly missing the far post.
McKennie was then brought down by Brosinski in the 54th minute. Gregoritsch took the resulting free kick but Zentner easily held his effort.
Quaison off the bar, McKennie heads just wide
But the team from the Rhein also continued to be dangerous. Quaison tried to lob Nübel from close range (61′), Bruma headed just over from a Brosinski corner (71′). It was now an balanced, open game. In the last 15 minutes, the home side had two great chances to go ahead late. Quaison found his way into the box but Jonjoe Kenny blocked his shot at the last minute (78′). 60 seconds later he was even more unlucky as he got through the Schalke defence once more only to see his effort tipped onto the bar by Nübel. The Knappen’s best chance of the game came in the very last minute through Weston McKennie. Oczipka whipped in a corner one minute into injury time, giving McKennie a free header from six yards out, but the midfielder placed his effort just wide of the right hand post. Subsequently, the Royal Blues had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
Leipzig at home up next
S04’s next Bundesliga game will come next Saturday at home to RB Leipzig (22/2, 18:30 CET).