A Home win against Hertha filled with curiosity, excitement and a return from injury
Schalke 04 ended their seven month run without a victory on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Hertha BSC. However, the three points weren’t the only thing worth celebrating on the day.
First home win for 223 days
FC Schalke 04 fans have waited a very long time for this moment. The Royal Blues have finally celebrated a victory on home turf in the Bundesliga for exactly 223 days, stretching back to the 2-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg on 20th January. Players and fans alike were rightfully in great spirit following the 3-0 win over Hertha BSC. Head coach David Wagner, who picked up his first Bundesliga win since taking over as manager, has made a huge step towards winning over the support of the fans. “It was clear to see just how badly the fans have been longing for a home victory. They have expressed this desire very clearly,” said the 47-year-old, and added: “The atmosphere was very important for us. We couldn’t have done this without the support of the fans. There was a certain feeling around the crowd, an energy that helped to push us to victory. That’s why the boys were able to put in so much effort despite the high temperature.”
The first time a team has scored two own goals in a Bundesliga match for over 10 years
After failing to score in their first two Bundesliga matches, FC Schalke 04 managed to put the ball into Rune Jarstein’s net on three occasions. Strangely, both of their first two goals were actually put into their own net by opposition players. However, The Royal Blues still managed to play a vital role in both. “We did really well to force the goals,” said Guido Burgstaller, whose wayward shot was put in by Hertha’s defender Karim Rekik to double Schalke’s lead. The opener was diverted in by Rekik’s defensive partner, Niklas Stark. The last time a team conceded two own goals in a Bundesliga game was way back in November 2009, when Hannover 96 put the ball into their own net twice during a 5-3 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
A return from injury after 31 weeks
One brutal moment that many Schalke fans still vividly recall was when Alessandro Schöpf was badly fouled by Hertha defender Karim Rekik in a 2-2 draw back on 25th January. The tackle resulted in an outer ligament tear in the knee, resulting in a lengthy spell on the sidelines. After Schöpf managed to play with the Under-21s last week, he celebrated his first-team return against Hertha, of all teams. David Wagner brought Schöpf on in the 88th minute for Omar Mascarell, as the midfielder made his Bundesliga return after 218 days out. “For me, I’m delighted just to be back out on the pitch,” reveals the 25-year-old with a smile on his face. In injury time, Schöpf even had a chance to make it 4-0 but saw his shot saved by Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.
Two landmark celebrations in Schalke colours
Weston McKennie and Benjamin Stambouli are likely to remember the 3-0 win over Hertha for a long time yet. Both celebrated landmark appearance numbers for The Royal Blues, with McKennie completing his 50th Bundesliga game in a Schalke shirt, while Stambouli appeared in his 100th game for Schalke. The Frenchman has now played in 75 Bundesliga, five Champions League, eleven Europa League and nine DFB-Pokal games for Schalke. I am grateful and proud,” the Frenchman posted on Instagram after making his 100th appearance for Schalke.