FC Schalke 04 gave further confirmation of their return to top form on Sunday evening with a comfortable 3-1 victory at home to SV Werder Bremen.
FC Schalke 04 3-1 SV Werder Bremen
The sides cancelled each other out in a congested midfield early on, but the game sparked into life with a flurry of goals shortly before half-time. First, Alessandro Schöpf headed Schalke in front, finishing the rebound after Max Meyer's furious long-range shot bounced down off the bar. Nabil Bentaleb doubled the advantage moments later, likewise prodding in on the rebound after Naldo's free-kick had been saved. Yet Bremen were given a lifeline just before the break when Serge Gnabry scored from the penalty spot having been fouled by Schöpf.
Schalke began the second half eager to restore their two-goal cushion, and after missing a couple of promising openings, duly made it 3-1 when Schöpf converted at the back post following Sead Kolasinac's excellent run and cross on the left. Rather than sitting back and protecting their lead, Markus Weinzierl's troops continued to harry their visitors and although they did not have any more clear sightings of goal, the outcome of the game was never in any doubt.
Man of the Match
This was without doubt one of Schöpf's best performances for Schalke since joining the club in January this year. He covered more ground (12.73 kilometres), had more shots (five) and won more tackles (12) than any other player on the pitch, capping off an industrious display with two well-taken goals.
Having started the season with five consecutive defeats, Schalke are now on a five-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga, with this their third win of the campaign. Still in 12th place, the Royal Blues look certain to continue to rise up the standings.
- Bremen striker Claudio Pizarro was included in the squad for the first time in 176 days following injury. Schöpf netted his first ever brace for Schalke. Bentaleb is Schalke's top scorer this season, having hit five goals in his last six competitive matches.
Schalke: Fährmann – Höwedes (c), Naldo, Nastasic – Geis – Schöpf, Goretzka, Bentaleb (Stambouli 80'), Kolasinac – Choupo-Moting (Konoplyanka 90+1'), Meyer (Rahman Baba 88')
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Bremen: Wiedwald – Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Garcia – Petsos – Bartels (Pizarro 70'), Fritz (c) (Hajrovic 64'), Grillitsch, Junuzovic - Gnabry
Coach: Alexander Nouri