Alessandro Schöpf struck in added time to give Schalke a 1-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday to bring their UEFA Champions League group stage adventure to a victorious end.
Schalke 1-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Goal: Schöpf (90+1')
With his team's Round of 16 spot guaranteed before kick-off, Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco shuffled his Royal Blue pack with Weston McKennie, Salif Sane and Amine Harit on the bench and Nabil Bentaleb among a clutch of first-choices in the stands. The early, injury-enforced replacement of Hamza Mendyl was an unexpected switch, but did little to change the pattern of the first half in which Schalke dominated territorially. However, they struggled to create real danger in front of the visitors' goal, which was well defended by former Schalke captain Benedikt Höwedes with another Royal Blue, Jefferson Farfan, also in the Lokomotiv line-up.
Lokomotiv captain Vitaliy Denisov had the best opportunity before the break — skying a shot over Ralf Fährmann's crossbar with the interval seconds away — and Aleksei Miranchuk tested the Schalke captain shortly after it. Just when the pair seemed destined to share the spoils, however, Schöpf found a way past Guilherme in the Lokomotiv goal to send his side through to the knockout stage in style.
- The Royal Blues have never lost or conceded against Russian opposition in four matches.The 1-0 win in Moscow earlier this season saw McKennie score his maiden senior club goal, and the first of two in a week.Schalke have now reached the knockout stage for the sixth consecutive Champions League campaign, including the semi-finals in 2010/11.Lokomotiv haven’t won away from home in the Champions League since 2002/03, drawing four and losing nine since.Moscow’s Höwedes made 335 appearances for Schalke, winning the 2011 DFB Cup, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany. Peruvian Farfan also won the cup during his seven years in Gelsenkirchen.
Schalke: Fährmann – Goller (Harit 59'), Naldo, Nastasic, Mendyl (Baba 16')– Stambouli - Schöpf, Serdar, Mascarell - Teuchert (Kutucu 72'), Konoplayanka
Unused subs: Nübel, McKennie, Caligiuri, Sane
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Lokomotiv: Guilherme – Ignatjev, Kverkvelia, Höwedes, Rybus – Denisov (c), Krychowiak – Farfan (Smolov 80'), Al. Miranchuk, Barinov – Eder (Miranchuk 46')
Unused subs: Kochenkov, Idowu, Mikhalik, Tugarev, Zhemaletdinov
Coach: Yuri Semin