Amine Harit scored a sensational late winner as Schalke saw off a spirited Mainz on Friday night to go temporarily joint-top of the Bundesliga table.
Schalke 2-1 Mainz
Goals: 1-0 Serdar (36'), 1-1 Onisiwo (74'), 2-1 Harit (89')
It took both teams a little time to find their rhythm at the Veltins-Arena, with Mainz carving out the game's first real chance on 20 minutes – Pierre Kunde whistling an effort just wide of the post after Alexander Nübel had conceded a soft corner. Schalke soon assumed control of proceedings but couldn't quite make it happen in the final third, with Suat Serdar, Salif Sane and Harit all failing to hit the target. They only needed one moment of magic to take the lead, though, as Harit played a perfect pass to pick out Serdar's run, and the Mainz youth product poked home against his former club. Guido Burgstaller might have doubled the hosts' advantage before the break, but his outrageous acrobatic effort sailed inches wide of the post.
Mainz also had the first chance of the second half, with Danny Latza looking to make the most of some hesitant Schalke defending but heading wide of the mark. Bastian Oczipka then fired well over at the other end, before Serdar squandered a five-on-three counter-attack for the hosts with a poorly weighted pass. Visiting coach Sandro Schwarz opted to twist, making all three of his changes by the 71st minute, and it paid off as substitute Karim Onisiwo arrowed an unstoppable drive into the top corner just after entering the fray. Not wanting to be outdone, Schalke sub Mark Uth unleashed his own ripping effort from distance, but Robin Zentner was equal to it. Mainz looked to have done enough to rescue a point until Harit popped up a minute from time, curling a superb winner into the bottom corner with the outside of his right boot and handing Schalke a third consecutive win.
- This is the first time Schalke have won three Bundesliga games in a row since February-March 2018, when they claimed six consecutive victories.
- Harit has had a hand in four goals in his last two outings, scoring three and setting up one for Serdar - that's more than he managed throughout the whole of last season.
- Serdar came through the Mainz youth system, spending 10 years with the 05ers before joining the Royal Blues in summer 2018.
- The 22-year-old scored for the second consecutive game after giving Schalke a 2-1 lead in last weekend's 5-1 dismissal of Paderborn. With two goals, he has already matched his scoring tallies of the past two seasons.
- After a slow start under Wagner, Schalke have now won their last three games with an aggregate score of 10-2.
- Onisiwo has scored three of his last six Bundesliga goals against Schalke. This was his first league strike since Mainz's 3-3 draw with RB Leipzig in May.
Schalke: Nübel (c) – Kenny, Stambouli, Sane, Oczipka – Caligiuri, Serdar (Uth 60'), Mascarell, Harit – McKennie (Nastasic 76'), Burgstaller (Kutucu 81')
Unused subs: Schubert, Kabak, Schöpf, Mercan, Matondo
Out: Bentaleb (groin), Raman (ankle)
Coach: David Wagner
Mainz: Zentner – Brosinski, St. Juste, Niakhate, Martin – Fernandes, Kunde (Baku 58'), Latza (c) (Maxim 58') – Boetius – Quaison, Szalai (Onisiwo 71')
Unused subs: Müller, Hack, Pierre-Gabriel, Barreiro, Öztunali, Burkhardt
Out: Bell (ankle), Ji (knee), Mateta (knee)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Watch: Harit: "A bit of luck, and a bit of talent"