Yevhen Konoplyanka scored his first Bundesliga goal as injury-hit FC Schalke 04 came from behind to draw with SC Freiburg at the VELTINS Arena.
FC Schalke 04 1-1 SC Freiburg
Schalke started with their youngest line-up for two years, but Markus Weinzierl’s fresh-faced charges did not appear the slightest bit overawed by the occasion. Full Bundesliga debutant Fabian Reese led the line admirably in the absence of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, while Yevhen Konoplyanka excelled with his driving runs from out wide. The Ukraine international carved out the clearest openings of the half, firing narrowly wide and seeing another well-struck effort tipped around the post by Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow.
Schalke continued to ask the question as Sead Kolasinac scooped over from Konoplyanka, only for Freiburg to take the lead against the run of play. Florian Niederlechner still had it all to do after collecting Janik Haberer’s slide-rule pass, but the Freiburg forward kept his head to round Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann and slot home his third Bundesliga goal of the season. Parity was restored ten minutes later, however, as Konoplyanka met Abdul Rahman Baba’s inch-perfect cross with a towering header. Schalke threw the kitchen sink in added time, but Freiburg held on.
Man of the match
The wide areas were something of a problem for Schalke last season, but not any more. Konoplyanka provided a constant outlet on the flanks and looks tailor-made for Weinzierl’s system.
Schalke may not be where they want to be in the standings, but the Royal Blues continue to churn out top-level young talent whatever the weather - Reese (19), Thilo Kehrer (20) and Donis Avdijaj (20) the latest names to graduate from the club's famed Knappenschmiede academy and grace the Bundesliga stage.
- Schalke ended a run of three straight defeats in all competitions.Rahman Baba registered his first assist in a Schalke shirt.Freiburg have picked up just five points on the road this season.
Schalke: Fährmann - Kehrer, Geis (Rahman Baba 59'), Höwedes (c) - Schöpf, Goretzka, Bentaleb, Kolasinac - Meyer (Tekpetey 87'), Reese (Avdijaj 68'), Konoplyanka
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Freiburg: Schwolow - Kübler (Philipp 63'), Gulde, Söyüncü, Günter - Schuster (c), Frantz - Stenzel (Abrashi 79'), Grifo - Haberer - Niederlechner (Bulut 83')
Coach: Christian Streich