Summary

  • First Europa League defeat of the season for Schalke.
  • Royal Blues top Group I on 15 points.
  • Long-term absentee Uchida makes comeback from injury.

FC Schalke 04 were unable to make it a clean sweep of UEFA Europa League Group I victories after a much-changed side lost 2-0 away to RB Salzburg on Thursday evening.

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RB Salzburg 2-0 FC Schalke 04

Goals: 1-0 Schlager (22'), 2-0 Radosevic (90+4')

Having won their first five group matches, Schalke were already assured of top spot and a place in the round of 32. As such, head coach Markus Weinzierl made several changes to his side, opting to rest a number of first-team regulars ahead of their crunch Bundesliga Matchday 14 meeting with Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Sunday. The Royal Blues started well, but fell behind in the 22nd minute when Xaver Schlager pounced from close range.

Schalke increased the pressure in the second half as they sought to progress to the knockout rounds with an unbeaten record. However, try as they might they could not create many gilt-edged chances, with a header from Donis Avdijaj that went narrowly over as close as the visitors came to scoring. Salzburg doubled their lead in stoppage time on when Josip Radosevic was able to fire into an empty net after goalkeeper Fabian Giefer had gone up for a late corner.

After more than 20 months out with injury, Schalke's Atsuto Uchida made his comeback on Thursday night.

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Man of the match

Benedikt Höwedes again demonstrated his worth for Schalke here, marshalling a young, inexperienced side throughout the 90 minutes.

Talking point

While the defeat was Schalke's second in successive competitive matches – following a 2-1 reverse to RB Leipzig on Matchday 13 – not too much should be read into this result. Weinzierl's charges have been much improved of late and will doubtless return to winning ways soon.

Match stats

  • Dennis Aogo hade more touches than any other player (91).
  • Both teams won exactly 50 per cent of their challenges.
  • Schalke had 12 corners to Salzburg's five.

Line-ups

Salzburg: Stankovic – Schwegler (c), Wisdom, Caleta-Car, Lainer – Rzatkowski, Laimer (Samassekou 60'), Radosevic, Schlager (Yabo 86') – Lazaro (Wolf 75'), Minamino

Coach: Oscar Garcia

Schalke: Giefer – Riether (Uchida 83'), Höwedes (c), Kehrer – Caicara, Stambouli, Aogo, Baba – Avdijaj, Reese (Schöpf 58'), Konoplyanka (Sam 75')

Coach: Markus Weinzierl