S04 lose 2-1 in Leverkusen after Alario brace
FC Schalke 04 lost on Saturday evening (7/12) after a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions. The Knappen were defeated 2-1 in Leverkusen after a brace by Lucas Alario (15’, 81’). Benito Raman pulled one back towards the end, but S04 couldn’t force an equaliser. Both sides now have 25 points each to their name.
Nastasic out injured
David Wagner was forced into one change from the side that beat Union 2-1 last matchday. Matija Nastasic was ruled out with a knee injury, meaning that Weston McKennie had to partner Ozan Kabak at centre back. Guido Burgstaller came into the side as a result up front.
Alario scores from a corner
The early stages in the BayArena saw both sides put a number of strong tackles in, as they both looked to stamp their mark on the game. Schalke looked to press and defend high, but Leverkusen were still able to take the lead after a quarter of an hour. Lucas Alario rose highest in the box to head home a Leon Bailey corner (15’).
The hosts were buoyed by their early lead and looked to add a second before the break. Nübel was on hand to parry Karim Bellarabi’s shot from a narrow angle, before Leon Bailey had a goal ruled out for offside in the 19th minute.
The Royal Blues finally carved out a chance after 26 minutes. Suat Serdar’s through ball expertly picked out Benito Raman, however the Belgian couldn’t defeat Lukas Hradecky with his low shot. Alex Nübel then made another impressive stop just before the break to ensure that Schalke only went in one goal behind.
Two goals in 69 seconds
Leverkusen pilled on the pressure at the start of the second half, but it was Raman who popped up, seemingly out of nowhere, to guide the ball over the line in the 50th minute. But the euphoria in the away end was quickly subdued by the linesman’s flag, which correctly ruled the equaliser out for offside.
The challenges continued to fly in on both sides, as they did in the first half, with neither side allowing an inch of room for the opposition to create. The Royal Blues seemed the better side, but struggled to carve out any real goalscoring opportunities.
Hopes of a comeback took a hit in the 81st minute, when Alario doubled Leverkusen’s lead from close range, but an instant response from Raman at the other end kept Schalke in the game until the end. Unfortunately, a second never followed and Wagner’s men return to Gelsenkirchen empty handed.
Frankfurt up next
Schalke’s next game comes against Eintracht Frankfurt at home on Sunday, 15th December (18:30 CET).