Effzeh emerged as the late winner from the cellar duel between Schalke and Cologne. From S04’s point of view, the 1: 2 defeat could prove to be a big draw in the fight against relegation. In the game itself, the squires could have taken the lead several times, but played various situations – as well as on the defensive – but haphazardly and often too error-prone.
It was an extremely important game, both for Schalke 04 and for 1. FC Köln – a game that is often declared a six-point game and can be an important step for the winner. In the case of the two teams: Essential points in the fight to remain in the 1st Bundesliga.
Even if the S04 had significantly more possession of the ball (62 percent), game shares and noticeably more shots on goal (seven to three), the club left the field as a loser. The Cologne team took the lead in the 31st minute with a margin after a standard – how could it be otherwise. The 1: 1 equalization was done by Matthew Hoppe for the miners. Who else? Jan Thielmann scored the winning goal in the 93rd minute after a counterattack. The Effzeh bet almost exclusively on the defense, played only a few counterattacks. Schalke once again despaired of the task of turning small chances around and in the sixteen into big chances and transforming them.
With 44 (!) Goals conceded after 17 games, it is no longer surprising that the Schalke defense – to put it in a friendly way – does not work as it should. It is not surprising that there are significantly more goals conceded in such a disastrous season.
Nevertheless, it was again and especially against 1. FC Köln exemplary and ultimately even fatal, how haphazardly defensive is sometimes acted. The guests’ late winning goal was the perfect example of this: an actually harmless counterattack, in which Schalke is not even outnumbered, becomes the greatest chance of scoring in the whole game after almost winning the ball.
Neither Ozan Kabak, Benjamin Stambouli and certainly not Omar Mascarell showed themselves to be organized in this situation. The substitute Spaniard even completely lost sight of Thielmann, turned his back on him, so that the pass into the sixteenth was one of the easiest exercises for Elvis Rexhbecaj. S04 was so easily vulnerable that Effzeh’s wall tactics even bore fruit in the end.
The fact that Schalke had control over that for the majority of the game does not automatically mean that they were always close to the trigger and the goal. However, this was the case around the 1: 1 by Hoppe and the subsequent 15 to 20 minutes – almost permanently you played for the fully occupied and defended Cologne penalty area. A pressure phase that, with a little luck, could have been enough for a tour.
However, this phase was interrupted. After a solo run, Sead Kolasinac felt pain in his thigh, so that he had to be replaced a little later. Not only did Bastian Oczipka, who was playing out of shape, have to replace the busy left-back – Christian Gross decided to make a three-man substitution and also brought Mascarell and Nassim Boujellab into play for Benito Raman and Matija Nastasic.
After that, from the 72nd minute, almost nothing went on compared to the previous quarter of an hour. Not that Raman didn’t deserve his substitution, for example. But the flow, if you like to call it that according to the circumstances, was almost completely destroyed, the flow of the game disappeared. Again the errors and problems increased. Gross played his part in this.
Schalke could have scored one or the other goal from control of the game. The problem: The small chances and small combinations on the offensive turned into the welcome “100 percent chances” far too rarely. Here the ball is a little too far, not hit properly there, sometimes faulty communication. As far as nothing new, it would be strange if the bottom of the table would play out big chance after big chance.
Of the 14 shots, including seven on the opponent’s goal, only one was classified as a big chance. Cologne, on the other hand, had extremely good chances with all three shots on goal, no matter how unattractive and passive Markus Gisdol’s team may have played.
In the S04 it was only Amine Harit who was noticeable on the offensive. Although he also lost one or the other ball, dribbling hard every now and then – he was also the only player who gave the efforts to score a background. In the end, he won significantly more duels than he lost, 70 percent of his dribbles were successful (via Sofa core). Raman and Mark Uth were, again, much too inconspicuous.
With a win, the Gelsenkircheners would have taken an important step towards relegation and at the same time pulled Cologne deeper into the relegation battle, so that they had twice more chances of staying up. Now the exact opposite has occurred: a battered competitor has been strengthened and you yourself fall into a deep hole through this severe setback in the key game.
Today’s success would have been far more significant if you had a look at the game plan. Not only that FC Bayern are now following, but also RB Leipzig, Union Berlin and BVB in the next five league games, while Werder Bremen is the only one of these opponents who could somehow still be a bit dangerous. The fact that in February there will most likely be followed by some serious defeats, we are back on the ground.
Meanwhile, other direct competitors such as Arminia Bielefeld and Mainz 05 even score with actual favorites every now and then. In terms of calculations, a lot is still possible, but realistically this defeat could prove to be the final sticking point that makes relegation inevitable.