Schalke lose against Bremen in final friendly before the Bundesliga returns

FC Schalke 04 were defeated 1-0 by Werder Bremen on Saturday afternoon (14/1) in front of 18,464 fans at the VELTINS-Arena. The only goal of the game was scored by Niclas Füllkrug after just four minutes.

First appearance at the VELTINS-Arena for Uronen and Kozuki

Head coach Thomas Reis set up with a 4-2-3-1 formation and named new signing Jere Uronen in the starting XI. Soichiro Kozuki began on the right wing, and Dominick Drexler started as an attacking midfielder in front of Tom Krauß and Danny Latza. Maya Yoshida partnered Henning Matriciani at the centre of the defence.

Florent Mollet was missing on Saturday due to ongoing transfer talks with another club. Niklas Tauer was ruled out due to a muscle injury, whilst Sidi Sané and Mehmet-Can Aydin remained on the sidelines due to knocks.

Early Füllkrug goal

The game started badly for Schalke, even though the hosts had the first chance of the game when Danny Latza’s left-footed shot went just past the post from distance (3’). A minute later, Werder took the lead. Leonardo Bittencourt gained possession in midfield, gave it to Anthony Jung out wide and he put a cross in. That found Niclas Füllkrug, who saw his header well saved by Alexander Schwolow. The rebound unfortunately landed perfectly for the German international to score at the second attempt (4’).

Werder goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka was first called into action in the 17th minute when he needed to tip a cross from Dominick Drexler for a corner, then Bittencourt cleared the bar from around 25 yards out (18’). Danny Latza struck a free-kick well over the bar in the 20th minute.

Lots of chances, no goal

Schalke were really starting to grow into the game and that improvement was clear to see over the next few minutes. Simon Terodde passed to winger Soichiro Kozuki and he let rip from the edge of the box, though Pavlenka was on his toes to parry it over the bar (25’). The resulting corner provided another chance for S04: Cedric Brunner headed the ball back into the danger zone and Henning Matriciani had his effort blocked by an onrushing Pavlenka. The Royal Blues had another corner and again it proved dangerous. This time, Tom Krauß headed over from a decent position (26’).

The chances continued to come in the first half for the home team. The next one was for Danny Latza, played in behind by Cedric Brunner. S04’s number 8 saw his shot well saved by Pavlenka (31’). The Czech Republic international then denied Terodde in similar fashion after inadvertently passing him the ball (45’). In between these chances, Ilia Gruev had his shot parried by Alexander Schwolow (35’), SVW’s only other decent opportunity besides their goal in the first period.

Füllkrug comes close

The second half almost began as badly as the first for Schalke. Niclas Füllkrug got the ball out his feet and then tried his luck from 15 yards out, hitting one just past the post. Milos Veljkovic headed over the bar from a Marvin Ducksch corner five minutes after that.

The bar and Fährmann prevent further goals

Schalke struggled to create as many decent opportunities as they did in the first half, whereas Werder could have added to their advantage on several occasions. In the 67th minute, Marvin Ducksch looked to knock a cross down for Leonardo Bittencourt with his head, but Ralf Fährmann got there first to clear the danger. At the other end, Jordan Larsson cut inside and aimed to curl one into the far corner, but it went over the bar (69’).

Niklas Schmidt came extremely close to making it 2-0 to Werder. Ducksch fed the midfielder and he dinked it over Fährmann, only to see the ball hit the crossbar (70’). 10 minutes later, Fährmann was quickly off his line to keep Mitchell Weiser at bay (80’). The substitute goalkeeper then made a great save from a powerful low drive from Füllkrug after he burst through the Schalke defence (81’).

First league game of 2023 up next

Schalke will return to league action next week away to Eintracht Frankfurt (21/1). The matchday 16 clash will begin at 15:30 CET. RB Leipzig will then visit the VELTINS-Arena three days later (24/1, 18:30 CEST).

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