Schalke finally picked up their first points of the Bundesliga season as Alessandro Schöpf's early header gave Domenico Tedesco's men a much-needed victory over Mainz.
Schalke 1-0 Mainz
Goals: 1-0 Schöpf (11')
Knowing that Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich had already won at the Veltins Arena this season, Mainz began brightly, with summer arrival Jean-Philippe Mateta firing a warning shot over the bar and putting another effort straight at Ralf Fährmann. However, it was Schalke who forged ahead with their first chance: Yevhen Konoplyanka sent in a looping cross from the left which Mainz captain Stefan Bell misjudged completely, allowing the returning Schöpf to head in from close range. Bell was then nearly guilty of doubling Schalke's lead after intercepting an Amine Harit cross, but a superb reflex stop from Florian Müller prevented an own goal. Robin Quaison curled a wicked effort just wide of Fährmann's post while Konoplyanka and Guido Burgstaller had chances at the other end, but it remained 1-0 until the interval.
Fährmann was called into action again early in the second half to tip a rasping Jean-Philippe Gbamin effort behind for a corner, while Ridle Baku should have done better when he found himself one-on-one with the Schalke captain. Konoplyanka then rattled the crossbar with a beautifully-struck free-kick from outside the area, and was denied by the woodwork again after a flowing counter-attack instigated by substitute Weston McKennie. The Royal Blues were happy to sit back and defend their lead as the determined visitors pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages. Matija Nastasic's last-ditch tackle prevented Alexandru Maxim from getting a clean shot away, while Gbamin and Mateta both missed chances late on as Schalke finally stopped the rot and picked up their first win – and points – of the campaign.
- Schöpf's goal gave Schalke the lead for the first time in a Bundesliga game this season. It was also the first time this term that Mainz have conceded in the first half.The Austrian midfielder last found the back of the net in the Bundesliga in April 2017, when he masterminded a 4-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen with a goal and two assists. However, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the same game and had to spend five months on the sidelines.Schalke have now won their last five Bundesliga games against Mainz without conceding. Their last defeat to the 05ers came in February 2016.Mainz have only won once in 13 trips to Schalke in the Bundesliga.Thanks to their victory, Schalke avoided matching Fortuna Düsseldorf's record of six defeats at the start of the 1991/92 Bundesliga season.Mainz have only scored four goals so far this term, courtesy of three different players: Mateta, Maxim and Anthony Ujah (two).
Schalke: Fährmann (c) – Caligiuri, Sane, Nastasic, Mendyl – Serdar (Mascarell 84'), Bentaleb – Schöpf (McKennie 61'), Harit (Uth 70'), Konoplyanka – Burgstaller
Unused subs: Nübel, Naldo, Rudy, Embolo
Absentees: Oczipka (groin), Skrzybski (muscle), Stambouli (ankle)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Mainz: Müller – Mwene, Bell (c), Niakhate, Bussmann - Gbamin, Kunde (Maxim 78'), Baku (Boetius 83') – Öztunali (Ujah 60'), Mateta, Quaison
Unused subs: Zentner, Donati, Martin, Onisiwo
Absentees: Adler, Berggreen (both knee), Brosinski (thigh), Bungert (calf), Holtmann (Achilles), Latza (fitness), Hack (foot)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Watch: Bentaleb reflects on Schalke's first win of the season