Schalke strike late to maintain top-four push and break Wolfsburg hearts

Schalke retained their grip on second place after an own goal by Wolfsburg's Robin Knoche gave them a 1-0 win at the Volkswagen Arena.

Wolfsburg 0-1 Schalke

Goals: 0-1 Knoche (o.g. 86')
Missed pen: Verhaegh (76')

Both sides approached this game highly motivated – Schalke chasing a top-four finish and Wolfsburg looking to stave off the threat of relegation – but the first half was a case of low risk and little reward for either team. With defences on top, chances were scarce, though Koen Casteels denied Schalke’s Matija Nastasic with a point-blank save and Daniel Didavi’s goalbound header was deflected wide for the hosts.

The second half was similarly low on goalmouth action, but the game’s turning point came 15 minutes from time when Nastasic was adjudged to have fouled Riechedly Bazoer in the penalty area. A penalty was awarded but Paul Verhaegh, who saw a spot-kick saved by Ralf Fährmann in the return fixture, again saw his effort kept out by the Schalke custodian. Roared on by the travelling fans, Domenico Tedesco’s men found an extra reserve of energy in the final moments and substitute Breel Embolo proved to be the hero, nutmegging a defender and seeing his low cross turned into his own net by Knoche.

Match stats

    Schalke have now recorded five Bundesliga wins in a row.Only league leaders Bayern Munich have won more games (21) than Schalke's 13.Schalke left-back Bastian Oczipka made his 200th Bundesliga appearance.Fährmann has saved both penalties taken against him in 2018 (the first was against Leipzig's Jean-Kevin Augustin).The Royal Blues' Pablo Insua came off the bench in the second half to make his Bundesliga debut.The second-place Royal Blues are on course for a return to the UEFA Champions League after a four-year hiatus.Last Friday's 1-0 win at Mainz was the first time that neither Goretzka nor Meyer started for Schalke.Schalke have lost just one of their last nine Bundesliga games against Wolfsburg.Origi has scored five goals and assisted once since signing on loan for the Wolves from Liverpool in the summer transfer window.Verhaegh has not won in ten Bundesliga games against Schalke, and even saw a spot-kick saved by Ralf Fährmann the last time he faced the Gelsenkirchen club.


Wolfsburg: Casteels - Verhaegh (c) (Steffen 90'), Knoche, Bruma, William - Guilavogui, Bazoer (Osimhen 80') - Arnold, Didavi, Brekalo (Origi 89') – Dimata
Unused substitutes: Grün, Malli, Uduokhai, Itter
Absentees: Brooks (knee), Tisserand (thigh), Jung (thigh), Gerhardt (ankle), Camacho (match fitness), Blaszczykowski (match fitness), Mehmedi (foot)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia 

Schalke: Fährmann (c) - Stambouli (Insua 64'), Naldo, Nastasic - Caligiuri, Goretzka, Meyer, Oczipka - Harit (Embolo 60') - Burgstaller (Di Santo 80'), Bentaleb
Unused substitutes: Nübel, Di Santo, Konoplyanka, Pjaca, Schöpf
Absentees: Kehrer (eye), McKennie (muscular)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco

Watch: Tedesco "thrilled" after Schalke win

As it happened