Paderborn - FC Schalke 04 registered only their third away win of the current Bundesliga campaign after hitting back from a goal down to beat SC Paderborn 07 2-1 at the Benteler Arena on Wednesday.
Out of the blue
The Royal Blues were outplayed for large parts of the contest, but took their chances through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Roman Neustädter to render Kaan Ayhan's 31st-minute own goal meaningless.
Paderborn didn't take long to find holes in Schalke's experimental three-man backline. An incisive move involving Alban Meha and Mahir Saglik yielded the first chance of the night, but Stefan Kutschke could only direct Mario Vrancic's superb left-wing cross over the bar. The Royal Blues had another lucky escape midway through the half, with Rafael Lopez's audacious overhead kick striking the foot of the post and rebounding to safety.
Andre Breitenreiter's side continued to ask all the questions and at last got the goal their endeavour deserved when Ayhan inadvertently turned home Kutschke's teasing cross under pressure from Lukas Rupp. Schalke had offered absolutely nothing as an attacking unit, but got themselves back on level terms late in the half courtesy of an unstoppable effort from Choupo-Moting - the Cameroonian international's ninth Bundesliga strike of the campaign.
Di Matteo turned to Felipe Santana in a bid to alleviate his side's obvious frailties in defence in the second half. The Brazilian threw himself into the action, heading narrowly wide at one end and scooping over his own net at the other. Schalke had the bit between their teeth as the hitherto subdued Klaas-Jan Huntelaar warmed the palms of Lukas Kruse, prompting a change in the Paderborn camp and the almost inevitable introduction of leading scorer Elias Kachunga.
The substitution gave the hosts a momentary lift as Rupp flashed an effort wide, before Schalke took what in the grand scheme of things was a hugely fortuitous lead. Christian Fuchs launched a long throw into the danger zone, Kruse opted to stay on his line and Neustädter applied the finishing touch to send the visiting fans into raptures. A nervy finale ensued as Paderborn summoned one last push, but Knappen custodian Ralf Fährmann did just enough to thwart Kutschke late on.
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