Gelsenkirchen – FC Schalke 04 bounced back from their Matchday 3 defeat in Wolfsburg with a strong display to beat 1. FSV Mainz 05 2-1 on Sunday evening.
Without a home win this season going into the game, Schalke began as if determined to set the record straight. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had the chance to give them an early lead only to see Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius save his penalty. The hosts created several more opportunities to score but did not go in front until Joel Matip headed in Johannes Geis’ corner. Their advantage was short-lived, however, as Yunus Malli prodded in from close range after good work from Yoshinori Muto.
Undeterred, the Royal Blues emerged for the second period eager to reassert their dominance and got the goal their efforts deserved midway through the half when Huntelaar rifled the ball home from Matip’s pass. There were further chances at either end, most notably for Schalke youngster Leroy Sane, who went clean through on Karius’ goal, but there was no change to the scoreline, meaning Andre Breitenreiter’s men move up to fifth in the standings.
Man of the match
For all of Schalke’s creativity in the final third, goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann was arguably their key player here. The hosts wasted chance after chance to put the victory beyond all doubt, thus encouraging Mainz to keep pushing for an equaliser. They would surely have got one if not for Schalke’s big custodian, who made a string of impressive saves – most notably at the end from Florian Niederlechner – to preserve all three points.
While the game itself was a gripping spectacle from start to finish, there was a memorable moment prior to kick-off too. As part of Schalke’s #StandUp campaign to help refugees arriving in the country, all 60,083 fans at the Veltins Arena took to their feet and held up placards conveying messages of support.
Stats of the match
- Geis was directly involved in a Schalke goal for the first time this season – against his former club of all teams
- Matip has scored 11 of his 15 Bundesliga goals with his head, including each of his last six
- Matip’s goal was the first time the Royal Blues have scored from a set-piece since Benedikt Höwedes’ effort against FC Bayern München on 3 February 2015
- Huntelaar has missed each of his last four penalties