S04 pick up a point away to 1. FC Union Berlin
1. FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 played out a goalless draw at the Stadion An Der Alten Försterei on Saturday evening (13/2).
Bentaleb starts – Nastasic out injured
Christian Gross named Nabil Bentaleb in the starting line-up just days after his return to the first-team fold. The Algerian replaced Mark Uth, who missed out with a thigh problem. Matija Nastasic was also unavailable due to a calf issue, with his place in the side taken by Malick Thiaw.
There were two further changes to the Royal Blues’ team in Berlin. Suat Serdar, who came off the bench against Leipzig after suffering from a cold, replaced Omar Mascarell and Timo Becker was fit enough to feature after his thigh injury – he came into the starting XI for Alessandro Schöpf.
A lot of challenges but few chances
Union had the best chance of the first half after just four minutes. Taiwo Awoniyi was clear in front of goal, but arguably took his shot too early and Ralf Fährmann was able to save. After Union put the pressure on Schalke early on, a hard-fought game developed with lots of challenges being put in. Schalke grew into the match and had more of the ball after the opening phase, although chances were few and far between.
S04’s first chance came in the 29th minute. After a nice move by the away side, Suat Serdar just missed the target with his shot from the edge of the box. At the other end, Christian Gentner’s dangerous volley from 20 yards also came close, fizzing past the post (35’). Aside from these two efforts, neither side created any other notable moments before the half-time whistle.
Union with the better chances
Just like the first half, the second 45 minutes were also hard-fought. This time, however, Union were able to carve out more opportunities to score. A cross from Niko Gießelmann was met by Joel Pohjanpalo, however he couldn’t direct it goalwards on the volley (58’). Two minutes later, Awoniyi was in an even better position. The Union striker dragged his shot wide though. The hosts’ next chance required Ralf Fährmann to tip Marcus Ingvartsen’s effort wide (67’).
It took almost 30 minutes for Schalke’s first shot in the second half – Amine Harit struck a free-kick from the edge of the box over the bar (76’). With around five minutes left to play, Schalke had Fährmann to thank again. A Prömel cross was headed towards goal by Ingvartsen from a few yards out, however S04’s number one was in the right place to keep it out. The Royal Blues had one more chance as time ran out. Nassim Boujellab had a shot from a narrow angle, which, although it was probably going wide, was still saved by Loris Karius.
Revierderby in the VELTINS-Arena
The next game for Schalke is again on a Saturday night (20/2, 18:30 CEST). This time the Royal Blues will host Borussia Dortmund at the VELTINS-Arena.