Second-placed Schalke rounded out an excellent 2017/18 Bundesliga campaign on Saturday as they eased to a 1-0 victory over DFB Cup finalists Eintracht Frankfurt at the Veltins Arena.
Schalke 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Goals: 1-0 Burgstaller (26')
Though they had less to play for than their opponents – on paper at least – Schalke made much the brighter start in Gelsenkirchen, with Naldo heading just wide from an early corner. Frankfurt's only chances of note saw a Mijat Gacinovic effort comfortably gathered by Ralf Fährmann, while Sebastien Haller flashed wide from just outside the area. Daniel Caligiuri had already put in a couple of dangerous free-kicks when he teed up Guido Burgstaller for the opener – the Austria striker with a superb header for his 11th goal of the campaign. Schalke continued to look lively, with Amine Harit in particular making a nuisance of himself, but the Morocco midfielder squandered a good chance to add a second as the hosts went in a goal up at the break.
After a fairly quiet start to the second half, Schalke spurned a host of golden chances to double their advantage. Leon Goretzka's powerful drive was well held by Lukas Hradecky, while Caligiuri failed to score when one-on-one with the Frankfurt keeper – a simple pass to his left and Bastian Oczipka could have swept the ball into an empty net. Substitute Cedric Teuchert was also denied, while at the other end Luka Jovic failed to make the most of a suicidal backpass as Thilo Kehrer got the ball clear. Alexander Nübel replaced Fährmann at half-time and had to be alert to save Ante Rebic's stinging effort, while 21-year-old Teuchert missed further chances to grab his maiden Bundesliga goal. Schalke nevertheless rounded out their excellent season under Domenico Tedesco on a high note, while Frankfurt will have to beat champions Bayern Munich in the DFB Cup final if they want to enjoy European football next term.
- Burgstaller celebrated his 50th Bundesliga outing with his first goal in four competitive meetings with Frankfurt.Schalke finished the season as runners-up for the first time since the 2009/10 campaign, when they were also second to Bayern.Brazilian centre-back Naldo was the top-scoring defender in the division this season with seven goals.Frankfurt fell to their first defeat against Schalke since September 2015, ending a run of five games unbeaten against the Royal Blues. American teenager Weston McKennie has featured in 22 Bundesliga games for the Royal Blues this term.Bayern-bound Eintracht coach Niko Kovac lost his first game to Schalke since hanging up his boots in 2009.
Schalke: Fährmann (c) (Nübel 46') – Stambouli, Naldo, Kehrer – Caligiuri, Goretzka, McKennie, Oczipka (Teuchert 68') – Harit – Burgstaller, Konoplyanka (Baba 57')
Unused subs: Di Santo, Riether, Pjaca, Schöpf
Absentees: Nastasic (knee), Meyer (not considered), Bentaleb (suspended), Embolo (fitness)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Frankfurt: Hradecky – Da Costa, Russ, Salcedo, Willems – Fernandes (de Guzman 46'), Mascarell – Wolf, Boateng (c), Gacinovic (Rebic 46') – Haller (Jovic 65')
Unused subs: Zimmermann, Abraham, Stendera, Tawatha
Absentees: Hasebe (suspended)
Coach: Niko Kovac