Neither Schalke nor Freiburg were able to put any daylight between themselves and the relegation zone after the teams played out an entertaining 0-0 draw on Saturday in a game both ended with ten men.
Red cards: Serdar (42’) Günter (90+2')
Freiburg made the trip north to Gelsenkirchen sitting just one point ahead of Schalke in the Bundesliga table and, in the first half of the match, there was little to choose between the sides. The hosts’ much-changed starting XI needed time to settle and were largely unable to string together dangerous attacks. Rabbi Matondo, making his first Bundesliga start, looked bright on the left wing and was nearly able to supply Mark Uth to open the scoring for the home side, but his shot was blocked. Such a chance was a rarity, with both sides restricted to efforts from distance. With only three minutes left to play in the half, Schalke midfielder Suat Serdar complicated his team’s efforts to find an opener when he saw red for a rash challenge on Freiburg captain Mike Franz.
At the start of the second half, Freiburg coach Christian Streich made a double change, introducing Jerome Gondorf and Freiburg topscorer Gian-Luca Waldschmidt as his team looked to capitalise on their numerical advantage. The visitors were able to edge possession but, just as in the first half, were unable to threaten the Schalke goal. With only ten minutes remaining, Freiburg looked to have been gifted an opportunity to take the lead via a penalty when Omar Mascarell was judged to have handled the ball in the area as he slid to block a cross. Upon consultation with the VAR team in Cologne, the referee decided against awarding the spot-kick, however. In the first minute of extra time, Christian Günter was also be sent off for a second bookable offense, leaving the match to finish with both sides down to ten men.
- The Schalke starting XI was their youngest (average age 24.5 years) since December 2016, making it the youngest selection under Domenico Tedesco.
- Tedesco made five changes to the line-up that lost to Bayern Munich last weekend. Among the new faces was Rbbi Matondo; the Welshman made his first ever Bundesliga start.
- Schalke teenager Matondo made more intensive runs (80) than any of his teammates. Only Vincenzo Grifo made more (85).
- Weston McKennie turned in a strong performance at right-back, winning more duels (13) than any other player.
- Freiburg now have only three points from five games in 2019.
- Amir Abrashi returned to the Freiburg squad for the first time since his cruciate ligament rupture suffered in Berlin in March 2018. He slotted immediately into the starting line-up in place of the injured Robin Koch.
Watch: Rabbi Matondo sees positives in Schalke's performance
Schalke: Fährmann (c) – McKennie, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka – Serdar, Mascarell – Harit (Bentaleb 66’), Uth, Matondo (Bruma 89’) – Kutucu (Burgstaller 84’)
Unused subs: Langer, Konoplyanka, Rudy, Teuchert,
Out: Caligiuri (suspended), Embolo (foot), Insua (knee), Nübel (suspended), Schöpf (knee), Stambouli (broken cheekbone), Skrzybski (thigh)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Freiburg: Schwolow – Kübler, Lienhart, Heintz, Günter – Haberer (Niederlechner 88’), Abrashi, Frantz (c) (Waldschmidt 46’), Grifo – Höler (Gondorf 46’), Petersen
Unused subs: Flekken, Terrazzino, Stenzel, Schlotterbeck
Out: Borrello (knee), Gulde (hamstring), Höfler (knee), Kath (groin), Kleindienst (knee), Koch (knee), Okoroji (illness), Sallai (adductor)
Coach: Christian Streich