Max Meyer heads Schalke into the quarter-finals

FC Schalke 04 will head into the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal after a 1-0 win over 1. FC Köln. Max Meyer scored the winner in the 63rd minute with a sublime header. It means the Royal Blues have gone 13 games without defeat.

Two changes to the starting XI

Head coach Domenico Tedesco made two changes to the team which drew in Frankfurt. Thilo Kehrer and Franco di Santo came in for Benjamin Stambouli and Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Köln stand firm

After a fairly even beginning to proceedings in Gelsenkirchen, the Royal Blues began to turn the screw after a quarter of an hour gone. The likes of Max Meyer and Daniel Caligiuri moved the ball from defence to attack with relative ease but struggled to unlock the Schalke defence. Amine Harit had a good effort on the edge of the penalty area stopped by Horn after neat work from Bastian Oczipka down the left flank. Matija Nastasic and Franco di Santo also both went close minutes later but Timo Horn wasn’t to be beaten in the first 45 minutes as the visitors sat back and ensure they were first and foremost hard to beat, giving Ralf Fährmann relatively little to do. The sides went into the half-time break with nothing to split them.

Meyer’s header makes the difference

The second half started in similar fashion to the first. The Royal Blues continued to pile pressure on the visitors. Amine Harit once again was heavily involved in Schalke’s attacks and hit the side-netting in the 54th minute. Eight minutes later, Matija Nastasic was denied from point-blank range sue to an exceptional instinctive save from Timo Horn. However, from the resulting corner, the deadlock was finally broken by the deserving hosts. Bastian Oczipka’s inswinging corner from the right flank was met by Max Meyer at the front post who deftly flicked the ball into the far corner of the Köln goal.

As was expected, the goal brought the visitors to life who went in search of an equaliser to keep their DFB-Pokal hopes alive. Ralf Fährmann was tested by both Frederic Sörensen and Kevin Goden but was equal to their efforts. Late on, Dominique Heinz connected sweetly with the ball from range bu his strike flew over the bar. On the counter attack, Schalke had a number of chances to put the tie to bed. Breel Embolo was unable to finish a low cross from Guido Burgstaller in almost a carbon copy of the effort which saw the Knappen begin their comeback in Frankfurt last Saturday. Minutes after his introduction, Weston McKennie had two chances to score but was unable to covert. However, the Royal Blues were not made to regret their missed chances as the final whistle went and the Royal Blues make their way into the DFB-Pokal last eight.

Schalke start 2018 with training camp

After a final training session on Wednesday, the Royal Blues will now go on a winter break. The Knappen will start the new year with a seven day training camp in Spain. There, the Royal Blues will prepare for their next competitive fixture away against RB Leipzig at 18:30 CET on Saturday 13th January.

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