Royal Blues lose 2-0 against Wolfsburg
FC Schalke 04 lost 2-0 at home to VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday (21/11). Wout Weghorst and Xaver Schlager scored the goals for the visitors.
Serdar returns to starting eleven after injury
Head coach Manuel Baum made three changes to the side that drew 2-2 with 1. FSV Mainz 05. Malick Thiaw, Benjamin Stambouli and Suat Serdar replaced Salif Sané, Ozan Kabak and Alessandro Schöpf to take on VfL Wolfsburg. Sané had suffered a knee injury on international duty with Senegal; he will undergo further tests next week. Schöpf (calf) and Rabbi Matondo (knee) were also missing due to injury. Levent Mercan played in the U23s’ derby against Borussia Dortmund earlier in the day.
Weghorst gives the guests an early lead
The game didn’t start according to plan; Wolfsburg took the lead after only three minutes. Matija Nastasic’s block ensured that Xaver Schlager’s shot went behind for a corner, but the Wolves made the most of it. Maximilian Arnold sent a low corner into the box and Wout Weghorst rose highest – he glanced a header across the goal and in, clipping the post on its way.
Going behind so early seemed to affect the Royal Blues. Wolfsburg were the more dominant side and crafted more chances. Weghorst could only find the side-netting from five metres (8’), and Rönnow saved a Baku shot and then an effort directly from a corner by Arnold (14’).
Schlager makes it two – Good chances for Paciencia and Raman
Wolfsburg continued to have the better of the game and had a huge chance to make it 2-0 in the 20th minute. Jerome Roussillon’s cross from the left found Renato Steffen free in the box, but his header was kept out by Rönnow. Four minutes later, Wolfsburg found a way past the Dane. Weghorst passed to Xaver Schlager who found Steffen. Steffen’s ball to Weghorst reached Schlager, who powered it past Rönnow from seven metres.
The visitors slowed the tempo with the 2-0 lead, and Schalke were better able to keep them away from goal. The Royal Blues had two of their own good chances at the end of the half. First, Thiaw found Goncalo Paciencia, whose effort from 12 yards was blocked, too close to goalkeeper Koen Casteels to cause any trouble (40’). In the 45th minute, Bastian Oczipka’s pass found Benito Raman, who had just been introduced in place of Amine Harit, but his shot from a tight angle was tipped over the bar by Casteels. It remained 2-0 going into the break.
Paciencia misses a chance straight away
Less than 60 seconds had been played when the Royal Blues had a chance to get back in the game; Paciencia received the ball from Raman and sent an effort narrowly wide of the post. Mark Uth had also done his best to get on the end of it, but he couldn’t quite get there to knock the ball in.
Schalke were better in the second half and had more chances to score. After being introduced at half time, Steven Skrzybski went close in the 53rd minute. After some nice play by Serdar, Uth cut into the box and blazed over from eight metres. The linesman’s flag went up after the shot, but VAR would’ve taken a closer look had it gone in (56’).
Raman hits the bar in the dying moments
Oliver Glasner’s side continued to look for a chance to finish the game off, and almost made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute. Brekalo ran down the left wing and found Weghorst five metres out, but his shot was saved by Rönnow. Four minutes later, Paciencia did well to bring Raman’s pass under control with his right foot before he got a shot away with his left – Casteels was on hand to keep it out (67’). The Belgian was also there to preserve the clean sheet when Paciencia got a header on goal shortly after (75’).
The Royal Blues kept fighting in the last fifteen minutes, but the ball just wouldn’t go in. Raman sent an effort narrowly wide from 18 metres (83’), and then he drilled an effort into the crossbar in the last minute. It finished 2-0 to Wolfsburg.
Next up: Topspiel in Mönchengladbach
Schalke’s next Bundesliga game is on Saturday (28/11) away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. The match kicks off at 18:30 CET in Borussia-Park.