bundesliga

Haji Wright opens Bundesliga account but Bayer Leverkusen see off Schalke

Haji Wright scored his first Bundesliga goal but the USA prospect's strike could not prevent Schalke going down at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

Schalke 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen

Goals: 0-1 Dragovic (27'), 0-2 Alario (35'), 1-2 Wright (45')

Leverkusen had not travelled well prior to arriving in Gelsenkirchen, and the visitors looked queasy during the opening 20 minutes before sparking into life. A Wendell shot well fielded by Ralf Fährmann was quickly followed by Dominik Kohr seizing onto a Benjamin Stambouli mistake only to fire narrowly wide. Aleksandar Dragovic was much more accurate though when Leon Bailey's shot ricocheted off a post and invitingly into his path to open the scoring. Lucas Alario then deftly turned Matija Nastasic to fire home a second and leave Schalke on the ropes.

The Veltins-Arena faithful were given some pre-Christmas cheer in the dying embers of the first half when Wright instinctively stuck out a foot to divert USA international teammate Weston McKennie's header past Lukas Hradecky. Amine Harit might have levelled had the Leverkusen defence not scrambled a dangerous cross clear from under his feet, while a Nastasic header also might have done the job but for it to fly directly into Hradecky's arms. Substitutes Steven Skrzybski and Yevhen Konoplyanka both could have — the latter probably should have — equalised, while Daniel Caligiuri flashed a vicious effort too close for Hradecky's comfort. A ninth loss of the season, though, leaves the 2017/18 runners-up still in trouble.

Lucas Alario got the decisive second goal as Bayer Leverkusen won 2-1 at Schalke on Wednesday. - Lars Baron/Getty Images

Match stats

  • Schalke have lost more home games in the first half of the season (five) than they have won (three).
  • In the last eight matches between these two, the home team has failed to win. There have been six away victories and two draws since Leverkusen managed a home win in October 2014.
  • In their Bundesliga history, Leverkusen have only won more games against Stuttgart (35) than they have against Schalke (31).
  • This was Leverkusen's first win over Schalke in four league matches. They had lost two of the previous three.
  • The game saw two Americans — Schalke's McKennie and Wright — line up for the same Bundesliga side for the first time since Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams featured for Hoffenheim at Schalke on 30 March, 2013.

Line-ups

Schalke: Fährmann (c) – Stambouli, Sane, Nastasic – Caligiuri, McKennie, Bentaleb (Serdar 54'), Oczipka – Schöpf (Konoplyanka 71'), Harit – Wright (Skrzybski 54')
Unused subs: Nübel, Mascarell, Kutucu, Naldo
Out: Embolo (foot), Mendyl (ankle), Uth (hamstring), Burgstaller (Achilles), Di Santo (knee)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco

Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser, Tah, Dragovic (Jedvaj 60'), Wendell – Kohr, Baumgartlinger (c) – Bellarabi (S. Bender 89'), Havertz, Bailey – Alario (Volland 70')
Unused subs: Özcan, Brandt, Kiese Thelin, Aranguiz
Out: Pohjanpalo (ankle), Retsos (thigh), L. Bender (thigh)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich

Click here for Schalke vs. Leverkusen - as it happened!