S04 draw 0-0 against Freiburg after playing 45 minutes with ten men
FC Schalke 04 and SC Freiburg couldn’t be separated on Saturday afternoon (16/2) at the VELTINS-Arena. The Royal Blues played over 45 minutes with ten men after Suat Serdar was sent off in the 42nd minute. The guests also had Christian Günter sent off in added time.
McKennie takes over Caligiuri’s role
Daniel Caligiuri missed out against his former side after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend. Weston McKennie moved back into the right-back position, having played in central midfield in Munich. Matija Nastasic, Omar Mascarell, Amine Harit, Rabbi Matondo and Mark Uth all came into the starting XI, replacing Jeffrey Bruma, Daniel Caligiuri, Sebastian Rudy, Nabil Bentaleb und Yevhen Konoplyanka.
Serdar is sent off
The Royal Blues had more of the ball in first half; however they rarely managed to get into their opponent’s box. Freiburg stayed very deep and even their striker Nils Petersen spent a lot of the game defending in his own half. Schalke resorted to trying long-range efforts – without any success. Freiburg, on the other hand, tried to counter attack, but again failed to carve out any openings.
32 minutes in the second half saw S04 appealing for a penalty when Lukas Kübler’s arm made contact with the ball after a Bastian Oczipka free-kick. Referee Frank Willenborg reviewed the footage and decided not to award a penalty. He was in the centre of the action again three minutes before the break: Suat Serdar saw a red card after a high challenge on Freiburg captain Mike Frantz.
Penalty for Freiburg is taken back
The away side came out of the break as the better side, taking advantage of their extra man. They almost took the lead seconds into the half, as Jerome Gondorf saw his header well saved by Ralf Fährmann. They continued to have the better chances: Gian-Luca Waldschmidt just missed the far post (61’) and then Fährmann denied Vincenzo Grifo a minute later after denying Petersen moments before. Schalke’s keeper was helpless as Freiburg then had their best chance when Philipp Lienhart headed over from close range, failing to keep his header down (71’).
VAR was required once again in the 81st minute, after Frank Willenborg awarded a Freiburg penalty for a supposed hand ball against Omar Mascarell. After consulting the video monitor himself, he rightly overturned the decision – there was clearly no intent from the sliding Spaniard. The referee was in the spot light yet again in injury time, as he showed a second yellow to Christian Günter for a foul against Mark Uth. A corner was won by the resulting free kick, from which Matija Nastasic headed just wide of the post – Schalke’s biggest chance of the half, albeit without testing Alexander Schwolow.
Champions League up next for Schalke
The Royal Blues take a break from the Bundesliga for the next few days, with as they look ahead to English champions Manchester City’s visit to the VELTINS-Arena on Wednesday (20/2). The Champions League clash, which kicks off at 21:00, sees Knappenschmiede graduate Leroy Sané return to Gelsenkirchen for the first time. Tedesco’s men then travel to Mainz on Saturday afternoon (23/2, 15:30).