Narrow 2-1 defeat in Leverkusen

FC Schalke 04 lost 2-1 away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday afternoon (3/4). Lucas Alario (26’) and Patrik Schick (72’) scored for the hosts, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar pulled one back nine minutes before the close.

Aydin makes his debut, Huntelaar his first start

Mehmet Can Aydin from the U19s made his Bundesliga debut in the BayArena, playing at right-back in a 3-5-2 formation. Another U19s player, Kerim Calhanoglu, started on the other side – already his fourth top-flight game.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar got the nod up front to make his first start since rejoining the club in January. He had been out in recent weeks with calf problems and came off the bench last time out against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Shkodran Mustafi wasn’t named in the squad for sporting reasons, while William was also left out due to disciplinary reasons. Both players will have the chance to impress again next week in training.

Alario scores for the Werkself

Leverkusen enjoyed the majority of the ball early on in the BayArena, although Schalke were compact at the back and didn’t allow Bayer to get into dangerous positions.

Schalke looked to be dangerous once winning the ball back and this tactic led to the first chance of the game. Amine Harit played a ball through to Mehmet Can Aydin and the debutant’s cross found Klass-Jan Huntelaar at the front post. The Dutchman’s header flew just over the bar (11’) and S04 wouldn’t have any other notable opportunities in the first half.

Bayer 04’s first dangerous move forward resulted in them taking the lead. After a cross-field pass by Aranguiz, Kerem Demirbay burst past Aydin and his low cross into the box was met by Lucas Alario, who only needed to stab home into an empty goal (26’). The hosts were the better side for the remainder of the first half, however no further chances came for either team.

Lovely goal from Huntelaar

After Kerem Demirbay lost possession, Amine Harit had Schalke’s first chance of the second half. The Moroccan couldn’t keep his shot down, though (48’). Two minutes later, Wendell dragged his effort wide.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had the ball in the back of the Leverkusen net in the 58th minute after an assist from Can Bozdogan, who came on at half time. However, Amine Harit was in an offside position as he gave it to Bozdogan, so the goal was chalked off for offside, with referee Sven Jablonski immediately ruling it out and VAR soon confirming his call was correct.

Substitute Patrik Schick doubled the hosts lead in the 72nd minute, finishing off a fine ball from Florian Wirtz from the edge of the box. Wirtz had rattled the post just 60 seconds before that.

Despite the two-goal deficit, Schalke refused to let their heads drop and pulled one back through Huntelaar (81′). Can Bozdogan dribbled past Jonathan Tah and picked out the Dutchman, who chested the ball down and struck a volley into the back of the net – his first goal since returning to the club in January. The Royal Blues made a late push for an equaliser, but time ultimately ran out for Dimitrios Grammozis’ men.

At home against Augsburg

FC Schalke 04’s next game is at home to FC Augsburg on Sunday, 11th April (15:30 CEST) at the VELTINS-Arena.

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