Late goal condemns Schalke to a 2-1 loss at home to Köln
FC Schalke 04 were beaten 2-1 by 1. FC Köln on Wednesday night (20/1). Substitute Jan Thielmann scored the winning goal late on after Matthew Hoppe had earlier cancelled out Rafael Czichos’ opener.
No changes to the starting XI – Huntelaar not in the squad
Head coach Christian Gross kept faith in the side that faced Eintracht Frankfurt just three days ago. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who rejoined S04 on Tuesday (19/1), wasn’t in the squad due to a calf injury.
First chance belongs to S04
Schalke had more possession in the opening stages at the VELTINS-Arena, with Suat Serdar’s shot parried by Timo Horn, while Sead Kolasinac was offside from the rebound. Köln sat deep and looked to play on the break, creating their first chance after 17 minutes. Matija Nastasic blocked a shot from Marius Wolf, before Kingsley Ehizibue’s effort with the outside of boot flew past the post.
The hosts had more opportunities after the 25th minute. Kolasinac gave it to Harit and his shot was kept out by Horn (26’). Two minutes later, Uth blazed over after a nice one two with Harit.
Czichos heads Köln ahead
Somewhat against the run of play, Köln took the lead after 31 minutes. Dominick Drexler volleyed the ball across the penalty area and it was met at the back post by Rafael Czichos’ head, hitting the back of the net despite Benjamin Stambouli’s best efforts on the line.
Taking the lead seemed to give the away side a boost and they almost doubled their advantage in the 37th minute. This time, though, Fährmann made himself big and saved Ehizibue’s shot. Schalke pushed for an equaliser right up until the half-time whistle and did manage to come close on two occasions. Nastasic played a through ball to Kolasinac, who found Hoppe in the box. He couldn’t get his shot off though in a dangerous position. Shortly afterwards, Mark Uth tested out Timo Horn’s reflexes with a powerful left-footed effort from the edge of the box, although Horn tipped it wide (45’).
Hoppe makes it 1-1
The second half was a lot more intense, with Schalke on top as they searched for a way back into the game. Christian Gross’ side had a bit of luck in the 54th minute, when Ozan Kabak’s clearance from a Marius Wolf cross hit the back post and came back out again. Amine Harit beat several players to create some space at the other end, but his shot didn’t have enough behind it and Horn easily held it (54’).
Two minutes later, though, the Royal Blues had their equaliser. Harit drove through the middle and looked to find Benito Raman. The pass seemed to have been cut out, however Suat Serdar forced his way through and the ball fell to Matthew Hoppe, who beat Horn from close range for his fifth goal of the season (57’).
Schalke push for the winner, Köln score themselves
S04 looked to build on Hoppe’s goal and had several opportunities shortly after. Raman had a shot blocked (58’), Stambouli’s effort was parried wide well by Horn (61’) and Kolasinac missed the target from the edge of the box after a nice run (64’).
Gross switched to a back three with 20 minutes to play, with the run of play almost completely in Schalke’s favour at this point. His side enjoyed most of the ball, but couldn’t test out Horn on any more occasions. As time started to run out, S04 were hit with a sucker punch in the third minute of added time. Substitute Jan Thielmann was played through and he smashed it past Fährmann to steal all three points for Köln.
Bayern up next
S04’s first game of the second half of the season is this Sunday (24/1) at home to FC Bayern (15:30 CET).