Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 made it four successive home wins in the Bundesliga after a deserved 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt at the Veltins Arena.
After a forgettable opening half, the game burst into life just after the break when Max Meyer put the Royal Blues in front with a close range finish. Julian Draxler then had a goal disallowed and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar missed a penalty as Schalke spurned a host of opportunities to make the points safe, but a lovely free-kick from substitute Jefferson Farfan sealed the victory in injury time.
Schalke had come into this game on the back of an awesome run at home, winning eight and drawing one of their last nine matches, but they struggled to break down a very compact Frankfurt side initially, and a wayward drive from Draxler was the closest they came to troubling Kevin Trapp in the Eagles’ goal in the opening quarter. Eintracht coach Armin Veh had set his team out to play on the counter-attack, and it was the visitors who had the first real chance of the game, with Stefan Aigner over-hitting an attempted lob.
Jens Keller had described his team as a “force to be reckoned with” at home, but for much of the first period Trapp was a veritable spectator, with Schalke making very little of their dominance in possession. Indeed, it took over 30 minutes before the hosts managed a shot on target, as Draxler’s low drive was held, while Trapp then did brilliantly to deny Huntelaar with a stunning reflex save.
Drama at either end
Joselu headed over at the end of a first half in which Schalke had failed to hit their stride in any way going forward, but Keller’s words at the interval must have had an effect, as they came out with far more urgency to their play. Draxler continued to be a menace, firing across the face of goal and then badly miscuing after a delightful dummy from Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Just before the hour-mark, however, the opening goal arrived and it preceded a thrilling period of play. After Sead Kolasinac’s long-range drive had struck the post, Trapp could only divert Huntelaar’s shot into the path of Meyer, who tapped in the opener. And less than two minutes later, the hosts had a second when Draxler forced an effort over the line, only for the referee to disallow it for offside.
Farfan settles it
The momentum was swinging to and fro, with Joselu forcing a smart stop from Ralf Fährmann, and a pulsating few minutes then took another twist when Draxler was felled in the box by Carlos Zambrano, presenting Huntelaar with the chance to establish daylight between the sides. Trapp distinguished himself yet again though, saving to his left to keep his team in the game. Joselu continued to carry the Eagles’ main threat, powering a free-kick into Fährmann’s body, before the crossbar came to their rescue, with Leon Goretzka cursing his luck.
In truth, 1-0 would have been flattering to the away side in light of the chances created, and Schalke duly made the game safe in second-half stoppage time when Farfan curled in a sumptuous free-kick. They Royal Blues are now unbeaten in ten home matches and remain on course for direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League, with a considerable lead over fourth-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Line-ups and statistics
Check out Jefferson Farfan's amazing free-kick against Eintracht Frankfurt, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: