Last-gasp Marius Bülter penalty saves Schalke from defeat in Augsburg
Trailing to Arne Maier's second-half strike, Schalke were headed to the bottom of the Bundesliga standings against the 10 men of Augsburg, until Marius Bülter netted from the spot in time added on.
Augsburg 1-1 Schalke
Goals: 1-0 Maier 51' (assist: Demirovic), 1-1 Bülter (pen. 90'+3)
Red card: Demirovic (53')
With Augsburg having won their previous four home games and Schalke going into this encounter unbeaten in the Rückrunde, a Saturday afternoon showdown at the WWK Arena promised much. The opening 45 minutes failed to deliver the expected spark, however, with clear chances at a premium. Mergim Berisha – who celebrated his first senior Germany call up in the week – headed onto the roof of the net early on while Bülter kept Augsburg’s Rafal Gikiewicz on his toes with a neat touch and shot that the keeper blocked out. Schalke’s renaissance man Ralf Fährmann produced the half’s most memorable moment when saving Elvis Rexhbecaj’s dangerous drive from distance with a quick scramble and one-handed tip around the post.
Fährmann had conceded just three goals in his seven outings since retaking his place between the posts for the Royal Blues this season. Indeed, his saves have added impetuousness to Schalke’s relegation battle. Yet the 34-year-old was left wincing when his unnecessarily rushed clearance looped straight to opposition feet and would lead to Ermedin Demirovic feeding Maier to pummel in the game’s opening goal. Suddenly, the encounter exploded into life. Demirovic was shown a direct red after his overly-eager leap left Tom Krauß bruised. Substitutes Rodrigo Zalazar and Simon Terodde then combined well, the latter volleying wide from his teammate's inviting centre from the right. With the visitors seemingly headed for the bottom of the standings, Die Knappen were offered a dramatic lifeline when Jeffrey Gouweleeuw upended Terodde in the box. The 29-year-old Bülter placed the ball and calmly rolled in an equaliser that kept Schalke's incredible unbeaten run intact and their hopes of survival alive.
- Bülter has scored in his last four Bundesliga games and has converted his last three consecutive spot kicks.
- Augsburg narrowly failed to equal a previous club best five Bundesliga home wins in a row set in 2014.
- Maier has scored three goals in 2023. He previously only managed one goal in the German top flight.
- Demirovic was sent off for the first time in his Bundesliga career.
- Demirovic joins Berisha on a team-leading four assists in 2022/23.
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Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Gumny, Bauer (Veiga 46') Gouweleeuw (c), Iago - Maier (Pedersen 85'), Engels, Rexhbecaj (Baumgartlinger 74'), Vargas (Cardona 74') - Berisha ()Beljo 74', Demirovic
Unused subs: Koubek, Caligiuri, Jensen, Yeboah
Out: Dorsch (ill), Hahn (knee), Oxford (match fitness), Strobl (cruciate ligament), Uduokhai (thigh)
Coach: Enrico Maaßen
Schalke: Fährmann - Brunner (Aydin 67'), Yoshida (c), Jenz, Matriciani (Mohr 63') - Kral, Balanta (Zalazar 35'), Krauß - Karaman (Terodde 67'), Frey, Bülter
Unused subs: Schwolow, Greiml, Tauer, Müller, Sane
Out: Drexler (thigh), Heekeren (cruciate ligament), Kaminski (back), Kozuki (ankle), Latza (muscular), Ouwejan (adductor), Polter (knee), Skarke (foot), Uronen (adductor), van den Berg (ankle)
Coach: Thomas Reis
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