Despite being shut out for long periods, Schalke were rewarded for their dominance when Jefferson Farfan tucked home Christian Fuchs’ late cross to give the Blues their sixth win of the campaign.
Nuremberg had gone into the game on the back of a six-match winless run and it was no surprise to see how they set their stall out in the opening quarter. Farfan and Ibrahim Afellay, two of the heroes from the win against Arsenal on Wednesday night, were seeing plenty of the ball, but in the wrong areas for the Royal Blues.
When service did come striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s way, it was easily gobbled up by the Nuremberg defence, with the Dutchman enjoying nothing more than half-chances. A breakthrough for the home side appeared to be in the offing shortly before half-time when Afellay capitalised on Nuremberg keeper Patrick Rakovsky’s spill, but his rushed effort was well blocked by a recovering challenge from Per Nilsson.
Nuremberg living dangerously
The tone for the second half was set by Schalke immediately after the restart. First Joel Matip’s header was cleared off the line, before Afellay stung the palms of Rakovsky from distance. Huntelaar then looped a header over the bar as Nuremberg continued to live dangerously. Der Club's most threatening player was Japanese midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake, but the ball reached him all too infrequently and they struggled for a foothold in the match.
Schalke continued to have the better chances, with Huntelaar having a goal ruled out for offside and Timm Klose blocking a decent effort from Afellay. Yet in truth, despite most of the action taking place in the vicinity of the Nuremberg box, the away side looked good value for the 0-0 scoreline. Impatience began to afflict the home side’s play, evidenced by the reaction of Lewis Holtby when he was substituted.
Farfan breaks deadlock
Still Schalke probed with patience and precision in their passing. Nuremberg were the embodiment of resilience, however, and Huntelaar was effectively nullified in attack. Hecking’s side also carried their own sporadic threat going forward, with substitute Almog Cohen and Kiyotake going close with efforts from distance.
If the away side's resistance had looked secure throughout, it was eventually breached with thirteen minutes to go, as a neat move involving Fuchs and Julian Draxler was capped by Farfan sweeping a neat left-footed finish into the corner. Jermaine Jones, Huntelaar and Draxler might have made the result more comfortable by the end, but it meant little to Schalke as the club moved to second in the league table.
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