Hard-fought point against Leverkusen
Despite having a number of players out injured, FC Schalke 04 fought hard for a point at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday evening (14/6). Daniel Caligiuri put the home side into the lead from the spot in the 51st minute, before an unfortunate own goal by Juan Miranda drew Bayer level nine minutes from time.
Bozdogan makes his Bundesliga debut
Head coach David Wagner was without 10 first-team players for Sunday’s clash. After Salif Sané (muscle strain) and Rabbi Matondo (adductor) were ruled out in the week, Benito Raman was also a late casualty, with the Belgian suffering from back problems. Weston McKennie, who had missed the match at Union with a suspension, returned alongside Nassim Boujellab and Ahmed Kutucu.
A fourth change to the XI from Berlin saw Can Bozdogan make his Bundesliga debut as he came into the side for Michael Gregoritsch, who dropped to the bench.
A good first half for Schalke
The game was not even 120 seconds old when Schalke had their first chance to take the lead. Bozdogan played in Weston McKennie, whose shot from around 22 metres out was parried away by Lukas Hradecky. Ahmed Kutucu looked to seize upon the rebound, but his effort went wide.
A good start that preceded a strong first-half showing from the men in Royal Blue. Schalke’s young guns showed no fear against a Leverkusen side brimming with talent. David Wagner’s side were brave, compact and ambitious. Alexander Nübel’s goal first came under threat in the 23rd minute as Lucas Alario leapt to meet Mitchell Weiser’s cross. The header was headed goalwards, but defensive stalwart stood strong and blocked the effort. The next good opportunity fell to Daniel Caligiuri, who took a shot from around 17 metres out. But Hradecky was there again to disappoint Schalke, but again couldn’t hold onto it. Nassim Boujellab looked to turn home the rebound, but Sven Bender was there to get the block in. Alario had the ball in the back of Schalke’s net just before half time, however the flag was up for offside – no goal. A good decision and a let-off for the Royal Blues.
Caligiuri scores from the spot
Schalke took the lead shortly after the start of the second half. Daniel Caligiuri calmly hammered home a penalty straight down the middle, as Lukas Hradecky went the wrong way. The spot-kick had been awarded by referee Daniel Siebert after he consulted VAR to check a handball by Edmond Tapsoba in the box.
Leverkusen had a dangerous moment minutes later, as Lucas Alario saw a header narrowly miss the target. The visitors stepped up the tempo after going behind, however Schalke continued to play with fight and passion as they looked to keep them at bay.
S04’s resistance was finally broken in the 81st minute. Wendell put the ball across goal from the left-hand side towards substitute Paulinho. Juan Miranda sprinted towards Paulinho, but, while trying to clear the ball, ended up diverting into it his own goal. Alario almost headed B04 into the lead less than 60 seconds later. His clever header was well saved by Alexander Nübel. Lukas Hradecky was then on hand to deny Schalke the winner with a brilliant stop from a Michael Gregoritsch header right at the death (96’).
Double game week; Frankfurt then Wolfsburg
The Royal Blues are in action again as soon as Wednesday (17/6), when they will travel to face Eintracht Frankfurt (18:30 CEST). The busy week will be concluded with the final home game of the season against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday (20/6, 15:30 CEST).