Gelsenkirchen - SV Darmstadt 98 survived a second-half onslaught to earn a valuable 1-1 draw against FC Schalke 04 at the Veltins Arena.
Man of the match
The Lilies took an early lead when Konstantin Rausch curled into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area and although Julian Draxler went close to restoring parity with a long-range strike just three minutes later, the Royal Blues were lucky not to fall further behind when Mario Vrancic shot straight at goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann after being played clean through by Marcel Heller.
Having created little in the first 45 minutes, Schalke came out all guns blazing in the second half and deservedly restored parity two minutes after the restart. Franco Di Santo did well to create space on the right and swing in a low cross towards the penalty spot, where Julian Draxler was on hand to slide home the equaliser. Johannes Geis struck the crossbar with a free-kick and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar went close with a header, but Dirk Schuster’s side held on to claim a deserved point.
Draxler could have had netted a couple on Matchday 2, but the Germany international’s strike two minutes into the second half ended up salvaging a point for die Knappen when, on another day, they could have slumped to a shock defeat to newly-promoted Darmstadt. After missing a large part of last season through injury, the 21-year-old showed signs of returning to some of his best form against the Lilies.
He may still be searching for his first goal in Schalke colours, but Di Santo’s assist for Draxler’s equaliser proved vital at the Veltins Arena. The Argentine showed intelligence to create space for himself on the right flank, before showing wonderful composure to pick out Draxler in the penalty area for Schalke’s equaliser. His industry and work ethic could prove vital to Andre Breitenreiter’s side in the coming weeks.
Translation: "We'll take a point from Gelsenkirchen! I'm proud of the team, it was a great performance!"
Stats of the match
- Rausch netted his first Bundesliga goal since 9. February 2014, when he also scored with his left foot for VfB Stuttgart in a 4-1 defeat to FC Augsburg.
- Rausch was involved in six of Darmstadt's nine attempts on Saturday, shooting three times and setting up his team-mates on three occasions.
- Schalke have never lost when Draxler has scored (14 wins, three draws).
Quote of the match
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar: "Unfortunately we went 1-0 down early on, but we played well going forward and got our just rewards with the equaliser in the second half. We just couldn't find enough space to get the winner."