S04 draw 0-0 away at Hertha
FC Schalke 04 and Hertha BSC couldn’t be separated in Berlin on Friday evening (31/1). Michael Gregoritsch had the best chance for S04, while Krzysztof Piatek came closest for Hertha.
Three changes to the team
David Wagner made three changes to the side that lost 5-0 at Bayern last Saturday. Alexander Nübel returned from his suspension to replace the injured Markus Schubert in goal, while Weston McKennie and Benito Raman came into the XI for Jonjoe Kenny (infection) and Rabbi Matondo (bench). Ahmed Kutucu missed the trip to Berlin due to a strained adductor.
Serdar has Schalke’s first chance
S04 looked to play a number of long balls early, as the hosts hoped to catch the Royal Blues on the break. There were few chances to speak about in the first half, although Wagner’s side had the better of them. Amine Harit set up Suat Serdar on the edge of the box in the 11th minute, but his effort was blocked by Hertha defender Jordan Torunarigha.
Suat Serdar then just cleared the Hertha crossbar in the 18th minute, again from the edge of the 18-yard area.
McKennie misses on the stroke of half time
Hertha’s first opportunity came after 24 minutes, with Marius Wolf volleying just past Alex Nübel’s goal.
S04 broke dangerously just minutes later, but Raman’s final ball couldn’t quite find Suat Serdar, who would have been one-on-one with Hertha keeper Rune Jarstein.
The remainder of the first half was fairly eventful – that was until the final minute. Weston McKennie’s shot was deflected by Maximilian Mittelstädt and tipped over the bar by Rune Jarstein.
Piatek injects some excitement into the home side
The second half also began sluggishly, until the 57th minute when it got a bit more exciting for both sides. Daniel Caligiuri blocked a shot from Javairo Dilrosun, and the a minute later there was action at the other end when Dedryck Boyata attempted to pass the ball back to Jarstein, but Raman intercepted the ball. Raman was however forced wide so his shot from an acute angle was easy for the home keeper to parry behind for a corner.
When the new signing Krzysztof Piatek came on, Hertha became a bit more courageous, and the new signing had the best chance for the home side to take the lead. After a corner from Dodi Lukebakio the striker headed an effort from close range just over the bar. After a blocked shot from Amine Harit (80’) it was Piatek once more who had a chance, but he missed just a minute later.
Gregoritsch and Mittelstädt with the final chances
It looked like the away side had finally found the breakthrough in the 86th minute. Bastian Oczipka played a one-two with Alessandro Schöpf, before whipping a dangerous cross into the box, which was met by the head of Michael Gregoritsch. His header, however, narrowly missed the target. Hertha then themselves came close to finding a winner as Mittelstädt’s shot flew just past Nübel’s far post right at the death.
Hertha up again on Tuesday
S04 will face a repeat of tonight’s game on Tuesday (4/2) in the DFB-Pokal, when the Royal Blues will host the side from the capital in the VELTINS-Arena. The round of 16 tie will kick off at 20:30 CET. Schalke’s next Bundesliga game will take place next Saturday at home against SC Paderborn (8/2, 15:30 CET).