FC Schalke 04 won their third game in a row and made it seven unbeaten in the Bundesliga by coming from behind to beat SV Darmstadt 98 3-1 at the VELTINS-Arena.
FC Schalke 04 3-1 SV Darmstadt 98
Darmstadt started brightly and silenced the VELTINS-Arena when Sandro Sirigu's inch-perfect pass sent Heller through to sidestep Ralf Fährmann and stroke his shot into an empty net. Play flowed from end to end with chances being created by both sides, and Schalke were soon back on terms. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's cross was met by Sead Kolasinac, who nodded in from point-blank range. The hosts could have taken the lead minutes later when Aytac Sulu felled Leon Goretzka inside the area, but Michael Esser saved Choupo-Moting's penalty.
Counterattacks were proving to be the most dangerous weapon for both sides and that was how Schalke gained the lead on the hour mark, Max Meyer's cross taking a deflection which favoured Choupo-Moting, who turned the ball in at full stretch. Sirigu tried to get Darmstadt going again, but it was Kolasinac making the greatest impression in the transitions and he almost set up Choupo-Moting for a second. Darmstadt threw caution to the wind late on, but Mario Vrancic's shot cleared the crossbar before Schöpf sealed Schalke's win in the last minute.
It took Schalke some time to get going this season, but they are now steaming their way up the standings. This was their third straight win, extending their unbeaten run to seven games after they had lost their first five.
- Heller's goal was his first in 2016. His last came on 20 December 2015.Choupo-Moting's penalty miss was Schalke's sixth spot-kick failure in their last 12.Kolasinac scored not only his first goal of the season but also his first on home soil.
Schalke: Fährmann – Höwedes (c), Naldo, Nastasic - Geis – Schöpf, Kolasinac – Goretzka (Konoplyanka 46'), Bentaleb (Stambouli 69') – Meyer (Aogo 88') - Choupo-Moting
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Darmstadt: Esser - Fedetskiy, Milosevic, Sulu (c), Guwara – Sirigu (Oliinyk 74'), Jungwirth (Stroh-Engel 85') - Heller, Vrancic, Ben-Hatira (Obinna 54') - Colak
Coach: Norbert Meier