Schalke play out a goalless draw with Mainz
The Royal Blues drew 0-0 with 1. FSV Mainz 05 in Dimitrios Grammozis’ first game in charge. Shkodran Mustafi had S04’s best chance in the first half, while the Zerofivers had the better opportunities across the 90 minutes.
Bundesliga debut for Calhanoglu – Rönnow back in goal
In his first game in charge of FC Schalke 04, Dimitrios Grammozis brought in 18-year-old Kerim Calhanoglu at left-back for his Bundesliga debut. Academy players Luca Schuler and Florian Flick (U23s) were also both named on the bench. Frederik Rönnow, who has recently been out with adductor problems, replaced Michael Langer in goal, while Can Bozdogan and Benito Raman also started, meaning Omar Mascarell, Benjamin Stambouli and Amine Harit all made way. The latter had actually been named in the starting XI but a late change was made due to muscular issues – he dropped to the bench and Bozdogan began the game.
Zentner keeps out Mustafi’s header
Schalke set up with a three-man defence that became five when the opponent was in possession. The importance of the match to both sides was clearly on show in the opening few minutes. Both teams gave their all in duels but it wasn’t until the 18th minute that the first chance arrived. It was a good opportunity as well, as Bozdogan whipped in a corner where Shkodran Mustafi rose highest to nod an effort towards goal. However, Mainz keeper Robin Zentner was equal to the header as he kept the ball out with an outstretched leg.
The first half was relatively even, with both sides fully committed but unable to create many meaningful openings for long periods. When Mainz had possession, S04 limited the space well allowing the defence to cover the danger and pick up loose balls.
Mainz with good chances before the break
Ten minutes before the end of the first half, Bo Svensson’s team found themselves on top and created a number of dangerous opportunities. In the 37th minute, Danny da Costa crossed into the box from the right-hand side and Leandro Barreiro Martins was inches from connecting with the ball from eight metres out. Five minutes later, Adam Szalai curled the ball just wide from 16 metres (42’), before the Hungarian failed to head home the ball from Niakhaté’s dangerous cross that flew just wide of Rönnow’s goal. The result of these missed chances was a goalless scoreline as the two sides returned to the dressing room at half time.
Mainz quicker out of the blocks
Schalke found it difficult to create chances in the second half, which meant the visitors spent more time in the Royal Blues’ half and had more dangerous moments for themselves. An S04 efender was on hand to block both a Burkardt shot (54’) and an effort from Mwene (57’) from the away side. Nine minutes later, Burkardt missed the target with a left-footed strike from inside the box (66’).
Zentner denies Serdar, Rönnow keeps Burkardt out
With 20 minutes left to play, Schalke got forward thanks to Sead Kolasinac, who won the ball back and played it through to Calhanoglu. His cross, however, was too high for his teammates (71’). Suat Serdar had Schalke’s best chance of the second half. The Germany international bent a shot from just outside the box, although Zentner was fairly comfortable in tipping it wide (81’). At the other end, Rönnow kept Burkardt at bay with a strong hand (82’). Mainz pushed harder for a winner but neither side could find a way through.
Away in Wolfsburg
FC Schalke 04’s next game is away to VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday, 13th March (15:30 CET).