Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04’s hopes of reaching next season’s UEFA Champions League suffered another huge setback as SC Freiburg held the Royal Blues to a 0-0 draw at the Veltins Arena.

After an uneventful first half, Julian Schuster missed a penalty for the visitors before Freiburg keeper Roman Bürki thwarted Max Meyer and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting at the other end, leaving die Knappen’s hopes of returning to Europe’s top table in 2015/16 hanging by a thread.

Action at both ends

Schalke coach Roberto Di Matteo handed Jefferson Farfan his first start in over twelve months, while Julian Draxler was named among the substitutes against Christian Streich’s side, who had won their last two games in the league. The visitors were rarely troubled in the opening 45 minutes at the Veltins Arena, and it was Meyer enjoyed the best chance of the half when he nodded over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

Freiburg were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Benedikt Höwedes brought down Admir Mehmedi inside the penalty area, leaving the referee with little choice but to point to the spot. Up stepped Schuster, but the 29-year-old blazed his spot-kick over the crossbar. Bürki came to Freiburg’s rescue moments later, first tipping Meyer’s curling effort over the top and then parrying Choupo-Moting’s header from the resulting corner out of harm’s way. Di Matteo threw on Draxler with 15 minutes remaining, but neither side managed to fashion a breakthrough as Schalke slipped ten points behind fourth-place Bayer 04 Leverkusen, while Freiburg stay in 15th.

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