Schalke fight hard for a point in Leverkusen

The Royal Blues drew 1-1 away in Leverkusen on matchday 33 of the Bundesliga season. Kai Havertz gave the hosts the lead in the first period, before Guido Burgstaller equalised just after the break. Daniel Caligiuri then missed a penalty for S04.

Stevens makes two changes to the side

Head coach Huub Stevens brought in Nassim Boujellab and Guido Burgstaller for Suat Serdar (ill) and Ahmed Kutucu (with the U19s).

Woodwork for Leverkusen – McKennie strikes over

Both teams struggled to create many opportunities in the first ten minutes; however Leverkusen then hit the woodwork twice in the eleventh minute. Charles Aranguiz hammered the ball against the crossbar, before Julian Brandt hit the post with the rebound. S04 failed to threaten in the first 25 minutes, and Brandt then went close again in the 22nd minute. Two minutes later, the Royal Blues were finally dangerous themselves. Matija Nastasic headed a Bastian Oczipka free-kick towards Weston McKennie, who couldn’t keep his shot down from close range.

Havertz leaves Nübel with no chance

The hosts continued to dominate the first half and were finally rewarded in the 31st minute. Weston McKennie unluckily headed Julian Brandt’s cross into the path of Kai Havertz, who smashed his shot past Nübel from twelve yards out. Six minutes later, Nassim Boujellab almost levelled after some nice play from Breel Embolo. Lukas Hradecky was able to parry the young midfielder’s shot. Benjamin Stambouli denied Havertz with a strong tackle, meaning that B04 went into the break a goal to the good.

Burgstaller scores, Caligiuri misses from the spot

Schalke started the second half strong. Just two minutes in, Nassim Boujellab played a ball through to Guido Burgstaller, who found himself on a free path to goal. The Austrian kept his cool and lifted the ball over keeper Lukas Hradecky to place it in the back of the net. Schalke had to wait for VAR to review the goal for a possible offside before being able to celebrate drawing level.

Things got wild after that. Kai Havertz took a shot on an angle that was saved by Alexander Nübel. Then, VAR came into play yet again after referee Deniz Aytekin missed calling a foul from Kevin Volland on Weston McKennie in the penalty area, resulting in a penalty. Daniel Caligiuri stepped up to the spot and sent the ball into the bottom right corner, but Lukas Hradecky was there to make the save. It was only the second time in his career that Caliguri has missed a penalty.

Aytekin reverses penalty decision

The match remained open after that, with Leverkusen pressing more and creating chances for Charles Aranguiz (58’), Julian Brandt (60’), and Wendell (67’). Referee Deniz Aytekin then called another penalty for Schalke after Breel Embolo went down in the box following a challenge from Jonathan Tah. But, the call went to VAR and Aytekin reversed his initial decision after reviewing the scene.

Leverkusen threatened to make it 2-1 late in the game, but Schalke fought back hard to deny them any good chances on goal. Schalke came close to going ahead in the 89th minute after Guido Burgstaller’s header hit the crossbar, before being whistled offside. After nearly five minutes of extra time, the game finished with a score of 1-1.

Facing VfB Stuttgart in the final game of the season

Schalke’s last game of the season will take place on Saturday 18th April. They will kick-off against VfB Stuttgart at home in the VELTINS-Arena (15:30 CEST).

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