Jonas Hector and Cologne denied Schalke the chance to go top of the Bundesliga table with a stoppage-time equaliser to grab a 1-1 draw at the Veltins-Arena.
Schalke 1-1 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Serdar (72'), 1-1 Hector (90'+1)
If Saturday’s late match in Gelsenkirchen was supposed to be the opportunity for Schalke to pick up where they left off after beating Leipzig, nobody told Cologne. In the opening quarter hour, the Billy Goats were far from overawed by their high-flying hosts and showed a willingness to take the fight to the Royal Blues, shading possession, passes, and shots on goal. The visitors had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock through Kingsley Ehizibue's diving header, only to be denied by a superb reflex save by Alexander Nübel. Schalke grew into the game, ending the half with slightly more possession (51 per cent) and completed passes (79 per cent) than their opponents, who kept themselves in it with a disciplined physical approach.
Schalke coach David Wagner rejigged his side at the break, bringing on Weston McKennie in place of Mark Uth. The change certainly had an effect, with the home side having as many shots on goal (four) in the opening stages of the second half as they had had in the entirety of the first. Both teams had their goalkeepers to thank for keeping them from going behind as Timo Horn proved equal to Schalke’s renewed offensive power, and Nübel once again pulled out a brilliant reaction save to keep out a Simon Terodde header. With 20 minutes remaining, somewhat fittingly, it was a headed goal that broke the deadlock. The hosts set up shop around the Cologne penalty area and sent a looping ball onto the head of Salif Sane, who headed it across the front of goal where Suat Serdar was waiting to nod it in. It looked as though Schalke would end the night as league leaders, but the Billy Goats were having none of it and a minute into extra time, Cologne captain Hector headed in an equaliser to rescue a point.
- Schalke had 15 attempts on goal compared to Cologne's nine.
- Serdar’s goal was his third of the season, a new personal record for him.
- With each of his three goals, Serdar has put his team ahead. This was the first such match that Schalke did not end up winning.
- Cologne are unbeaten in their last five Bundesliga visits to Gelsenkirchen, winning three and drawing two.
- Noah Katterbach was in the Bundesliga matchday squad for the first time, and was on the pitch from kick-off. At 18 years and 175 days, the defender is the youngest player to play in the Bundesliga this season.
- Four of Cologne’s five goals scored this season have come after the break.
Schalke: Nübel (c) – Kenny, Stambouli, Sane, Oczipka – Serdar (72'), Mascarell – Caligiuri (Kutucu 61'), Uth (McKennie 46'), Harit – Burgstaller
Unused subs: Schubert, Miranda, Kabak, Nastasic, Raman, Matondo, Schöpf
Out: Bentaleb (groin)
Coach: David Wagner
Cologne: Horn – Ehizibue (Risse 80'), Bornauw, Katterbach, Czichos, Hector (c) (90'+1) – Schindler, Skhiri, Schaub (Modeste 78'), Kainz – Terodde (Cordoba 70')
Unused subs: Kessler, Schmitz, Sobiech, Höger, Koziello, Hauptman
Out: Clemens (cruciate ligament), Drexler (groin), Mere (suspended), Verstraete (knee)
Coach: Achim Beierlorzer
Watch: Mascarell: "We have a lot of quality"