Bayern Munich will have to wait to clinch the Bundesliga title after a below-par Schalke dug deep to record a sixth straight win, beating Freiburg 2-0 on Saturday.
Schalke 2-0 Freiburg
Goals: 1-0 Caligiuri (pen. 63'), 2-0 Burgstaller (73')
Red card: Petersen (66')
Had the second-placed Royal Blues dropped points, Bayern would have been champions with a win, and Jupp Heynckes' side must have had the champagne on ice with Schalke's mojo seemingly lost during the international break. Despite Nabil Bentaleb's best efforts, the hosts were often sluggish in possession, only rarely testing Alexander Schwolow in the visitors' goal. Franco Di Santo's fierce early drive might have had it not been at the Freiburg goalkeeper, while Naldo's header that flashed narrowly beyond a post was the most pulses got raised inside the Veltins Arena before half-time.
Hearts were in mouths though when the game burst into life around the hour-mark. And how! Vincent Sierro, making his first Bundesliga appearance of 2018, struck a post with Ralf Fährmann beaten before ex-Freiburg man Caligiuri sent a penalty into the net via the woodwork after Manuel Gulde's misguided lunge at Breel Embolo. Further fireworks came in red cards for visiting captain Nils Petersen and coach Christian Streich before Bentaleb's surgical first-time ball allowed Guido Burgstaller to add the second for Domenico Tedesco's men and halt the title party in Munich before it had even begun.
Schalke: Fährmann (c) – Stambouli, Naldo, Nastasic – Caligiuri, Bentaleb, Goretzka, Oczipka (Schöpf 54') – Embolo, Burgstaller, Di Santo (Harit 54')
Unused subs: Nübel, Meyer, Konoplyanka, Kehrer
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Freiburg: Schwolow – Stenzel (Kübler 79'), Gulde, Söyüncü, Günter – Höfler, Koch, Sierro – Kath (Kleindienst 79'), Petersen (c), Haberer
Unused subs: Gikiewicz, Höler, Kempf, Schuster, Guede
Coach: Christian Streich
- Schalke's six successive wins is a new club record - they have kept clean sheets in the last five.Tedesco's men have converted nine penalties this season.Burgstaller now has nine league goals in 2017/18, as many as he scored in the whole of the last campaign.The Gelsenkirchen giants have not been involved in a 0-0 since 29 October, 2016, in Dortmund.Schalke's starting XI was their oldest of the season at an average of 27.5 years, three years older than Freiburg's line-up at kick-off.The game marked Freiburg striker Petersen's 150th Bundesliga appearance.Freiburg have won just one of their last nine league matches.