Andre Silva continued his prolific scoring run as Eintracht Frankfurt survived a Weston McKennie-inspired fightback from Schalke on Wednesday, keeping alive their faint hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.
Frankfurt came out all guns blazing, looking determined to claim a first home win since a 5-0 dismissal of Augsburg in early February. Filip Kostic clipped in a teasing ball for Silva that Schalke defender Ozan Kabak managed to nod behind, while Danny da Costa should have done better after a flowing move involving Kostic and Daichi Kamada. The Japan midfielder soon emerged as the hosts' biggest goal threat, flashing two efforts off target before drawing a smart one-handed stop from visiting keeper Alexander Nübel. Other chances came and went before Frankfurt finally – deservedly – broke the deadlock: Kostic dispossessed Jonjoe Kenny deep inside his own half before setting Kamada free on the counter, and he teed up the in-form Silva for already his seventh goal since the Bundesliga restart. Schalke's best chance fell to Juan Miranda, shortly after a marauding run from USA international McKennie, but the Barcelona loanee fired well over the bar, and David Wagner's men could consider themselves fortunate to only be one goal down at the break following further openings for Kamada and Evan Ndicka.
The writing appeared to be on the wall for Schalke when Frankfurt extended their lead early in the second half. The hosts won a free-kick just outside the penalty area, and Kostic fizzed in a brilliant, curling delivery that captain David Abraham headed home at the back post. The Royal Blues were determined not to give up without a fight, however, and McKennie dragged them back into contention as he converted Alessandro Schöpf's free-kick with a towering header. Frankfurt had a couple of chances to restore their two-goal advantage, but Kamada thumped over from close range and Stefan Ilsanker dragged an effort wide. Having already made an impact at one end, Abraham then cleared brilliantly off the line to deny Michael Gregoritsch, after Kevin Trapp had saved well from Rabbi Matondo. Schalke lost momentum when teenager Can Bozdogan was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Silva really should have put the game to bed for Frankfurt, but swept wide when one-on-one with Nübel. Trapp saved again from Matondo as the Eagles held on to win 2-1, and boost their slim chances of getting into Europe with a top-seven finish.
- With seven goals in eight outings, Silva has scored more than any other player in the Bundesliga since the restart last month.
- The Portugal forward is Frankfurt's leading scorer in the league this term with 11 goals, ahead of centre-back Martin Hinteregger on eight.
- Abraham is now up to two goals for the season, matching his career-best return in the Bundesliga (with Hoffenheim in 2013/14).
- Nine of Kostic's 11 assists this season have come from set pieces (seven corners and two free-kicks).
- McKennie has scored three of Schalke's five goals since March. No forward has found the target since Ahmed Kutucu's strike in the 1-1 draw with Paderborn on Matchday 21.
- Frankfurt are unbeaten in nine home games against Schalke, who extended their club-record winless run to 14 games.
Watch: McKennie: "We're working hard to give back to the fans"
Frankfurt: Trapp - Abraham (c), Hasebe, N'Dicka - Ilsanker (Hinteregger 69') - da Costa (Chandler 81'), Kohr (Sow 69'), Rode (Gacinovic 77'), Kostic - Kamada - Silva (Dost 81')
Unused subs: Rönnow, de Guzman, Toure, Torro
Out: Fernandes (calf)
Coach: Adi Hütter
Schalke: Nübel - Kenny, Kabak, Oczipka (c), Miranda (Thiaw 83') - Bozdogan, Schöpf, McKennie, Becker (Matondo 46') - Kutucu (Gregoritsch 57'), Boujellab (Raman 87')
Unused subs: Schubert, Langer, Mercan, Hofmann
Out: Burgstaller (knee), Caligiuri (suspended), Harit (knee), Mascarell (groin), Matondo (groin), Nastasic (muscular) Sane (muscular), Serdar (knee), Stambouli (match fitness), Todibo (ankle)
Coach: David Wagner
Watch: Silva: "My secret is that I trust myself"