GThe series of Schalke 04 in the relegation battle has broken against the feared opponent. After eight games without defeat at the start of the second half of the Bundesliga, the Royal Blues lost Bayer Leverkusen 0:3 (0:0). The Werkself, who haven’t lost in Gelsenkirchen for almost ten years, are aiming for the European Cup again with their sixth competitive win in a row.
Jeremie Frimpong (50′), Florian Wirtz (61′) and Sardar Azmoun (90’+2′) scored the goals for Leverkusen, who scored 35 points in 18 games under coach Xabi Alonso. Schalke left the field as a loser for the first time in 68 days – despite a strong fight in the first half. After the break, Leverkusen’s class and pace prevailed.
Defender Jenz not there
Schalke coach Thomas Reis had to do without his defense stabilizer Moritz Jenz for the first time. With the 23-year-old on loan during the winter break, the Royal Blues, who were still the league’s shooting gallery in the first half of the season, conceded just four goals in eight games. Austria’s Leo Greiml, who had missed large parts of the season due to a torn cruciate ligament and a meniscus injury, switched to central defence. Bayer coach Alonso made just one change compared to the 2-1 win against Bayern Munich before the international break: Jonathan Tah came on for Kerem Demirbay.
Schalke attacked Leverkusen early and aggressively, provoking ball losses and thus fighting for scenes in the penalty area. The Werkself had the first clear chance to score: Amine Adli was denied by goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann (10′), who reacted brilliantly. The Schalke veteran also excelled in Robert Andrich’s long-range shot (19′) and Adli’s chance after a pass from Florian Wirtz (27′).
Bad passes, dirty duels
Leverkusen’s right winger with Frimpong and Moussa Diaby, who scored three goals in the 4-0 win in the first leg of Alonso’s debut, was initially unable to show their pace. Schalke’s derby hero Henning Matriciani held back with good positional play and tough duels – with the support of his colleagues. Nevertheless, Bayer increasingly took the initiative, also because at Schalke the bad passes and unclean duels increased. But royal blue always found relief. At halftime there were 5:1 corners, but no real scoring opportunity.
Immediately after the break, Bayer suddenly got a surprising amount of freedom: First Frimpong failed to get through to Fährmann, then he converted a cross from Diaby, who had swerved to the left, to make it 1-0. Wirtz increased after a one-two with Adli – again the Schalke defense looked on in amazement. Matriciani deflected a shot from Diaby (80′) with his thigh against the crossbar of his own goal. Azmoun then provided the final point.
#Schalke #loses #Leverkusen #Bundesliga
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