The S04 year: October, November and December
A strong streak, a derby for the history books, second place at the winter break and a place in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals. It's time for the final part of our review of FC Schalke 04's 2017.
October: Royal Blues on track
October was a great month for Schalke as the Knappen didn’t lose a single game. Hertha BSC and 1. FSV Mainz 05 were both defeated 2-0 and the boys couldn’t have got much closer to victory than against VfL Wolfsburg before Divock Origi’s strike at the death meant the points were shared at the VELTINS Arena. In the DFB-Pokal, the Royal Blues saw off SV Wehen Wiesbaden with a 3-1 win to reach the last sixteen of the competition.
Leon Goretzka didn’t only have reason to celebrate due to Schalke’s results in October. His goal for the Germany national team against Azerbaijan won Goal of the Month by some margin. One of those to congratulate him was Sascha Riether as his former teammate resigned with FC Schalke 04 until the end of the season, after training with the squad to regain his fitness.
November: A derby for the history books
After wins in Freiburg and against Hamburg, the winning streak continued into the derby with Borussia Dortmund. At the half-time whistle, it looked bleak. The Royal Blues trailed by four goals to their arch-rivals. What happened next will stay in history books forever. After a transformational team talk by Domenico Tedesco, the team took the second 45 minutes by storm and got exactly what they deserved, Naldo equalised in the 94th minute to send the Schalke faithful into raptures.
A few days after the celebration, Naldo extended his contract at Schalke until the summer of 2019. The result meant Schalke were the first side since Bayern Munich in the 1970s to get points on the board having been four goals down.
The derby also marked the beginning of our new website where fans can learn all the latest news concerning the Royal Blues.
December: Second place and the quarter finals
Schalke took points from every game in December and kept their unbeaten streak alive by drawing against Köln, Mönchengladbach and Frankfurt as well as winning at home against FC Augsburg.
This total of six points enabled Schalke to finish in second place but both Christian Heidel and Domenico Tedesco have emphasised there’s a long way to go and focused on how tight it is at the top of the Bundesliga rather than specific targets as to where the Royal Blues hope to finish in the table next summer.
The icing on the cake of the first half of the season came in the final game of 2017 as FC Schalke 04 won 1-0 at home versus 1. FC Köln to secure their place in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals and to end 2017 unbeaten in 13 consecutive in all competitions. The boys have certainly deserved their winter break!