Serdar and Skrzybski's strikes seal thrilling 3-3 draw with Southampton

FC Schalke 04’s opening outing of their tour of China againt Southampton turned into a gripping 3-3 draw in the Kunshan Sports Centre Stadium on Thursday (5th July). Yevhen Konoplyanka (21’), Suat Serdar (54’) and Steven Skrzybski (84’) scored for die Knappen.

In sweltering 27 degree conditions with 92 percent humidity, Domenico Tedesco gave four of his five new signings (Mark Uth, Suat Serdar, Steven Skrzybski and Omar Mascarell) a run-out. Only Uth was in the starting XI. Schalke’s fifth new-boy Salif Sané is still on holiday after the World Cup and will join the team after the China tour.

Alongside Uth, U19 players Niklas Wiemann, Jannis Kübler and Benjamin Goller got their first starts for the first team. Schalke’s new Umbro away strip was officially released shortly before the match to round off the brilliant event.

S04 look convincing in attack

Die Knappen lined up in a familiar 3-5-2 formation. Weston McKennie held the fort in central defence, flanked by Niklas Wiemann and Thilo Kehrer. The trio were hardly tested in the opening phase of the game as Schalke dominated from the outset, launching some dangerous attacking play. Schalke created some great goalscoring opportunities early on. Teuchert even had the chance to take the lead in the first minute.

Die Knappen’s turnover play made particularly good watching. After winning the ball, they pushed high up the pitch. Their short passing game was put to much greater effect than long balls, which hardly hit their mark. Tedesco’s side finally got the breakthrough in the 21st minute. Benjamin Goller won the ball in the middle of the park and Jannis Kübler put Yevhen Konoplyanka through on goal. The Ukranian then darted in and fired. Jack Stephens slid in to block the shot, but couldn’t keep it out.

Schalke kept up the pressure and created further chances. Just before half time, the Saints showed their efficient prowess and snuck in a surprise goal. Charlie Austin held up the ball on the edge of the area, before flicking it through to an onrushing Nathan Redmond, who slotted the chance into the bottom left corner from 10 yards. Abdul Rahman Baba came out to close down the angle but couldn’t keep Redmond out. The players retired to the dressing room at 1-1.

Complete team rotation for the second half

Before the second half, both coaches completely remodeled their teams with eleven changes for either side. Central midfielder sSuat Serdar and Omar Mascarell were given their first caps in their new Umbro outfit. Forward Steven Skrzybski also got the nod. Die Knappen came out of the blocks with similar intent and di Santo had a great chance shortly after the restart.

Southampton were the ones to take the lead, however. Lennart Czyborra sent a long ball up to the front line and Harrison Reed managed to speed past the Schalke defence and finish neatly past Alexander Nübel (48’) to make it 2-1. Schalke picked themselves up straight away and leveled the affair just six minutes later. Suat Serdar smashed the ball into the bottom right corner off the post from 20 yards. A terrific goal! At 2-2 the game swung back and forth, yet Southampton were more clinical in front of goal. In the 68th minute, Jake Hesketh leapt onto a loose ball and hit a tame shot towards goal from 20 yards. Benjamin Stambouli stuck out a leg and deflected the ball past a wrong-footed Alexander Nübel to send his side 3-2 down (68’).

However, die Knappen’s spirits were far from dampened and they continued to press for an equaliser. Their effort was finally rewarded in the 84th minute! Steven Skrzybski picked up the ball in space and hammered it in off the crossbar from 30 yards. An absolutely sensational strike to settle the score at 3-3.

The next test for the Royal Blues will be next Wednesday (11th July) in Langfang, where they face Hebei Fortune FC at 13:30 CEST.

Match facts

Schalke: Fährmann (46‘ Nübel) – Kehrer (46‘ Stambouli), McKennie (46‘ Riether), Wiemann (46‘ Insua/73‘ Geis) – Kübler (46‘ Skrzybski), Baba (46‘ Czyborra/73‘ Boujellab) – Goller (46‘ Serdar), Bentaleb (46‘ Mascarell) – Uth (46‘ Di Santo), Teuchert (46‘ Kutucu/88‘ Krüger), Konoplyanka (46‘ Tekpetey)

Southampton: McCarthy (46‘ Forster) – Stephens (46‘ Valery), Hoedt (46‘ Sims), Targett (46‘ Gallagher), Bertrand (46‘ Clasie), – Höjbjerg (46‘ Reed), Long (46‘ McQeen), Redmond (46‘ Hesketh/90‘+2 Slattery), Armstrong (46‘ Oriol Romeu) – Lemina (46‘ Ward-Prowse), Austin (46‘ Gabbiadini)

Goals: 1-0 Konoplyanka (21‘), 1-1 Redmond (45‘+1), 1-2 Reed (48‘), 2:2 Serdar (54‘), 2-3 Hesketh (68‘), 3-3 Skrzybski (84‘)

Referee: Ma Ning (China)

Attendance: 14.000

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