Fabian Klos's second-half header was enough for a determined Arminia Bielefeld side to claim their first away win of the season against rock-bottom Schalke, whose winless run was extended to 29 league matches.
The early stages of Saturday’s Westphalian derby saw Schalke and Bielefeld play fast-paced, end-to-end football. Both sides had chances to take the lead with returning Schalke attacker Alessandro Schöpf threatening with a shot that sailed just over the bar and Bielefeld being denied twice in quick succession thanks to blocks from the excellent Salif Sane and keeper Ralf Fährmann. Just before the half-hour mark, Sergio Cordova thought he had put the visitors in front after being sent through on goal, only to see the linesman’s flag go up for offside. Just before the half-time whistle, a nearly identical scene unfolded; Cordova beat his man to latch onto a long ball and release a fierce shot that Schalke fans were relieved to see denied by the woodwork. The first half ended with the scores level between two teams who were decidedly up for it and fighting for every inch.
The second half picked up exactly where the first had left off. With just a minute played, Nassim Boujellab forced a save from Bielefeld keeper Stefan Ortega, who then showed lightning reflexes to parry a follow-up shot off the line. The fans would not have to wait long for the game’s first goal, however. Nathan De Medina’s long ball from the left found captain Klos unmarked between two defenders and the big striker coolly directed his header past the keeper and into the back of the net. Schalke's reinstalled interim coach Huub Stevens made an immediate change, bringing on Amine Harit for Boujalleb, in order to get his side back into the match. Harit’s introduction brought a renewed drive and directness to Schalke’s attack, but Bielefeld were resolute in defending their lead, and go into the winter break with a four-point cushion on the automatic relegation zone.
- Schalke have not won in the league since beating Borussia Mönchengladbach on 17 January 2020. Tasmania Berlin hold the ignominious Bundesliga record for longest streak without a win (31 matches, 1965/66).
- The Royal Blues have the Bundesliga's most porous defence (36 conceded), and are 26 league matches without a clean sheet.
- Harit was Schalke's second-highest league scorer with six goals last season, but is currently on a 21-game barren run.
- Klos’s opening goal was Bielefeld’s first headed goal of the season and De Medina’s first assist of the campaign.
- Today’s victory was Bielefeld’s first win over Schalke since a 2-1 triumph in September 2002.
- Stevens returned to the Schalke dugout for the fourth time all told, and first since a previous caretaker spell ended in top-flight survival in May 2019.
Watch: Mascarell: "We have to believe in ourselves"
Schalke: Fährmann - Stambouli, Kabak, Sane, Oczipka - Schöpf (Kutucu 70'), Mascarell (c) (Thiaw 13'), Serdar, Mendyl (Skrzybski 70') - Boujellab (Harit 55') - Raman
Unused subs: Langer, Ludewig, Nastasic, Matondo, Bozdogan
Out: Bentaleb (not included), Ibisevic (not included), Paciencia (knee), Rönnow (hamstring), Uth (concussion)
Coach: Huub Stevens
Bielefeld: Ortega - Brunner (Soukou 81'), Van der Hoorn, Pieper, De Medina - Doan, Prietl, Hartel (Kunze 81'), Gebauer - Cordova (Seufert 88'), Klos (c) (Schipplock 71')
Unused subs: Linner, Yabo, Müller, Lucoqui, Maier
Out: Behrendt (muscular), Laursen (knee), Voglsammer (calf)
Coach: Uwe Neuhaus
Watch: Stevens: "The boys can't give up!"