Second German League: Schalke 04 lose the top of the standings

The last minute of stoppage time takes place, Schalke take a corner kick and Simone Tyrodi shoots again for Karim Calhanoglu. It’s no longer about the three points, it’s about a goal that might still be worth a point. With a score of 1:4 against Werder Bremen, there is a risk of further damage given the goal difference. But the last corner ends like the previous one: in a turmoil where Schalke somehow takes a shot on target but can’t find the gap over and over again.

Shortly thereafter, it was over and the SV Werder players celebrated their coup, at least those who still found the strength to do so. During the last quarter of the hour, some Bremen players dragged themselves across the field with convulsions – evidence of a grueling but effective resistance.

This game of matches in the second league in front of a decent crowd certainly fulfills the demands of the top match. Bremen stole the top of the table from Schalke 04 because they always had a good structure in their game, because they were more diverse and complex, and because they knew how to create and use moments of surprise according to plan. S04 coach Mike Buskins said in a sporty and polite manner: “Werder is a deserved winner. We started well, but slept by two sets and didn’t have the necessary reach.”

Old wisdom from former manager Rudy Assauer isn’t true this time

Büskens teammate Ole Werner did not show his condition in a good North German way: “My team played a very, very good game and, logically, the result was very, very good,” he summed it up efficiently.

Schalke has won five times recently, while Bremen have drawn three times in a row. The hosts wanted to capitalize on this starting position according to their manager’s memorable mantra, Rudy Asuar: “Form beats class” was his wisdom, and Mike Büskens seemed to make his team aware of it. Schalke stormed in, Werder was breathing hard at first, only Nikolai Raab could stop Schalke playmaker Rodrigo Zalazar on account of a yellow card, and the pitch erupted appropriately.

But the first corner was on the other side: instead of the classic high kick in the middle, the ball came to Mitchell Weiser, who enjoyed great freedom a few meters from the penalty area. Weiser hit the ball, goalkeeper Martin Freisel was right, but he made the wrong mistake. Slapped the ball forward, Ilya Gruev was there and scored from close range (eighth minute).

Elijah Gruev (right) scores Bremen 1:0 in Gelsenkirchen.

(Photo: Uwe Kraft / Imago)

This may have been the bug that decisively affected the game, but it’s likely to blame Friesel more than it’s worth. Schalke’s entire structure didn’t hold up when SV Werder let the ball run and finally realized their ideas. A few minutes after Terodde missed the chance to equalise, the difference in play between the two teams must also be reflected in the score: another corner kick found a deliberate deflection for Pfizer, who converted a cross by striker Niklas Volkrug to make it 2-0 (min. 26).

“With a bit of luck, we got the match going in our favour,” coach Werner later said. Schalke needed a little luck first, when Marvin Doksch hit the post (28′) and before the halftime whistle blew wide.

And now against St Pauli and Nuremberg: Schalke still face strong opponents in their struggle for promotion.

Despite the spirited result, there was still anticipation on the field, but hopes for a turnaround in the second half will soon be dashed. Marvin Doksch scored twice, the opposing defenders blocked the ball twice (51′, 53′) – and the match ended in an instant. While Schalke was recently in alliance with fortune, it has now turned out to be an unfaithful companion. Even when trying to make the outcome more forgiving, an error always occurred at the crucial moment. Schalke put in an honorable effort, but was only poorly rewarded with a forced goal by Simon Tyrudy (88).

For Werder, things are looking really good with a relatively cheap program remaining and with a return to the top flight, Schalke still have to overcome big hurdles in the first leg against St Pauli and in their last appearance at Nuremberg. Buskins took it with equanimity: “We haven’t started going crazy in the last few weeks and haven’t believed we can walk on water, and so we have to go now.”

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