Niclas Füllkrug strikes again as Werder Bremen sink Schalke
Niclas Füllkrug's 10th Bundesliga goal of the season helped take Werder Bremen up to seventh, whilst leaving Schalke rooted to the foot of the standings.
Werder Bremen 2-1 Schalke
Goal: 1-0 Füllkrug 30' (assist: Weiser), 2-0 Ducksch 76' (assist: Weiser), 2-1 Drexler 89' (assist: Polter)
Schalke finished two points clear of Bremen in last season's Bundesliga 2 standings, but have been looking up at the Green-Whites ever since. The Royal Blues sought to redress the balance early in the first half as Marius Bülter tested Jiri Pavlenka's reactions, before Tomas Kral's deflected goal was ruled out for offside upon VAR review. After Simon Terodde flashed a header wide, Bremen forged ahead as uncapped German forward Füllkrug applied the finishing touch to Mitchell Weiser's driving run and audacious cut-back. Terodde headed against the woodwork and Marvin Ducksch fired narrowly wide at the end of a pulsating first half.
Bremen were rocked on the hour when Füllkrug was withdrawn due to injury. Schalke's Marius Bülter followed the Bremen talisman down the tunnel soon after, but not before Terodde's inventive scissor-kick had forced a flying stop from Pavlenka. The Werder custodian was at it again moments later, diving full stretch to beat away a Kral piledriver. Just as in the first half, the Green-Whites took full advantage of Schalke's struggles in front of goal. Weiser slipped a pass into the box for Ducksch, who showed tremendous composure to chip the advancing Alexander Schwolow for 2-0. A strong double save denied Ducksch his brace, before Schalke substitute Dominik Drexler reduced the arrears in the 89th minute - but Werder held on.
- Bremen have 21 points after 13 matches. Schake have six.
- Claudio Pizarro was the last Bremen player to score 10 (like Füllkrug) or more Bundesliga goals after 13 matches (2011/12). Miroslav Klose was the last man in green and white to end the season as Bundesliga top scorer (25 goals, 2005/06).
- Schalke are winless in 35 away Bundesliga matches, tying the ignominious Bundesliga record held by Karlsruhe.
- The Royal Blues have lost seven straight Bundesliga games for the first time.
- Weiser produced his fourth and fifth assists of the season - more than any defender in the division.
- Ducksch scored twice across his first 31 Bundesliga appearances. He has three in 13 this season.
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Watch: Füllkrug on having his daughter as a Bremen mascot
Bremen: Pavlenka - Pieper, Veljkovic, Stark - Weiser, Schmid, Gruev, Bittencourt (Stage 76'), Friedl (c) - Füllkrug (Burke 60'), Ducksch
Unused subs: Zetterer, Jung, Groß, Chiarodia, Schmidt, Rapp, Dinkci
Out: Agu (patella tendon), Buchanan (ill), dos Santos (ill), Mbom (Achilles), Salifou (groin)
Coach: Ole Werner
Schalke: Schwolow - Brunner, Matriciani, Yoshida, Mohr - Kral, Krauß (Drexler 77') - Karaman, Mollet (Polter 85'), Bülter (Larsson 64') - Terodde (c)
Unused subs: Heekeren, Kolodziejczak, Latza, Flick, Aydin, Sane
Out: Cisse (muscular), Greiml (meniscus), Kaminski (calf), Ouwejan (knee), van den Berg (ankle), Zalazar (metatarsal)
Coach: Thomas Reis
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