Schalke pick up a point in Wolfsburg

FC Schalke 04 played out a 1-1 draw on Wednesday evening (18/12/19) with VfL Wolfsburg. Ozan Kabak scored for Schalke and Kevin Mbabu equalised for Wolfsburg. The result was overshadowed by the sad news that a Schalke fan collapsed near the stadium according to police, and later died in hospital.

Wagner makes four changes to the starting lineup

After the 1-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt last time, head coach David Wagner made four changes to the side. Markus Schubert replaced the suspended Alexander Nübel in goal, and for Weston McKennie, who suffered a shoulder injury, Juan Miranda came in to the side. Bastian Oczipka, usually a left-back, was picked at centre-back, and he was joined by Ozan Kabak. Fabian Reese and Guido Burgstaller also started instead of Rabbi Matondo and Benito Raman.

Wolfsburg put Schalke under pressure early

The game didn’t need to build up in excitement, as the hosts especially started off running and putting pressure on Schalke from the first minute, and benefitted from that approach with their number and quality of chances. Less than 60 seconds had passed when Kevin Mbabu hit a cross from the right into Wout Weghorst, who headed an effort at goal past the flailing Schubert. Bastian Oczipka cleared the danger just before it crossed the line. Schalke then countered dangerously in the sixth minute, but Burgstaller fired wide after a nice turn around his marker. On the other hand, Schubert saved twice – once from a long-range shot from Josuha Guilavogui (8’) and once from a shot by John Anthony Brooks (13’).

Even though Wolfsburg had more of the attacks in the first half, S04 also had decent chances. Reese tested Koen Casteels (16’) with a shot. Daniel Caligiuri won the ball after a corner kick from Wolfsburg, Burgstaller set Amine Harit free, who again passed to Burgstaller. The Austrian didn’t shoot from 12 yards, but instead looked for Reese with a cross that Wolfsburg were able to clear at the last moment.

Schubert makes two excellent saves

From the 33rd minute, the Schalke fans had their hearts in their mouths twice within 60 seconds. First Maximilian Arnold fired from distance with his left foot into the right corner but Schubert made himself big and saved it. On the following corner, Brooks almost poked the ball into the net, but the Schalke keeper was there again.

Due to the high pressing of the Wolves, counterattack opportunities arose for the miners, which they rarely took advantage of. It only got dangerous once more in the first half: when Suat Serdar curled a 20-yard shot past the right post (37′).

Wolfsburg had the best chance at the end of the first half, as Victor hit the outside of the post. The attacker then had another chance a minute later, but missed the target from a narrow angle.

Kabak scores from a corner

A few minutes after half time Schalke suddenly took the lead. After a corner from Caligiuri, Kabak headed at goal, but Casteels pushed it onto the post, but Kabak struck the rebound with renewed power from short distance and scored to give Schalke a 1-0 lead. Nine minutes later Schalke almost doubled their lead but Burgstaller was once again unable to finish from a cross by Reese.

In the 63rd minute it was again Schubert who prevented a goal. Arnold passed to Brekalo in the penalty area, who shot straight from twelve yards, but found his match in the Schalke keeper. Four minutes later, up the other end of the pitch, Burgstaller missed from an acute angle after a fine backheel pass from Caligiuri (67’).

Mbabu scores the equaliser

In the 82nd minute the hosts equalized. Marcel Tisserand dispossessed Schubert after a corner kick, but for referee Martin Petersen and the video assistants this contact was not enough to decide on foul play. Mbabu took advantage of the opportunity and scored from close range to the 1-1 final. A result that is secondary due to the tragic incident about the late Schalke fan that evening.

Final game of 2019 against Freiburg

At the end of the first half of the season, the S04 meets SC Freiburg on Saturday (December 21st). The game in the VELTINS-Arena will kick off at 3.30 p.m.

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