Darmstadt held firm against an attacking Schalke side last Saturday to salvage at least one point at the Veltins Arena.
The newly promoted side was a nagging problem for Schalke throughout the night and held a concrete defense, as well as some luck, to prevent their slip down the table and maintain their no-loss record thus far in the league.
Here are the winners and losers from the two sides’ first meet up in the Bundesliga.
Winner: Darmstadt’s goal post
It almost became silly once Schalke had struck the bar twice: one off a strong header by Roman Neustadter and the second after a curling free kick from Johannes Geis, the rebound of which was then rocketed over target via a volley by forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Fate would have it that Schalke would not have three points from their opening home game of the new season, and it was the post that denied them nearly as often as Darmstadt keeper, Christian Mathenia.
Loser: Darmstadt’s passing
Darmstadt broke a new record last Saturday, but not one that’ll be shown proudly: they completed a draw with the lowest pass percentage completion in Bundesliga history, coming in at a shocking 46% per WhoScored.com.
Schalke dominated almost every area of the game, maintaining 77% possession and completing 84% of their passes, setting up attacking options and pacing down the wings. Were it not for the air-tight defensive line, it would have been a more-humbling outcome for the visitors.
Winner: Julian Draxler
There is no second opinion: Julian Draxler was Schalke’s best player and by a rather large margin.
Both the best and ugliest of Draxler (besides the injuries) were on full display: he sometimes out-tricked himself and gave away possession. In the late minutes of the first half, he gave the ball away in the center of the pitch, which almost led to a second goal that would’ve devastated his side.
But for the remaining 90% of the game, it was Draxler who provided some sublime passes, crosses, and outright Draxler-ish skill moves that really kept the visiting side’s defense in fear. He eventually was set-up by a great pass from new signing Franco di Santo and calmly slotted it into the corner furthest from the goalkeeper for his first goal of the season.
He completed 91% of his passes, surpassed by only Geis as the midfielder with the most touches of the game.
Winner: Konstantin Rausch
There was only one player in the visiting side who had ever scored against Schalke before, and it was that players name that haunted the Veltins Arena once more: Darmstadt left-winger Konstantin Rausch
In the ninth minute, Rausch gathered the ball outside the 18-yard line and curled a superb shot around tall Schalke ‘keeper Ralf Fahrmann into the top corner. There were no complaints; Darmstadt fully deserved their goal.
As the match wore on, he began to fade until eventually being subbed off in the 87th minute, but his goal redeemed his team a point in an otherwise day for the visitors.
Loser: Junior Caicara
Possibly the only disappointing performance of the night from the home side, besides a handful of misses from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, was new-signing fullback Junior Caicara. The Brazilian simply was dragging play down.
Despite his proven pace and attacking ability, there were several moments were runs were being made around the pitch as he stood with the ball in the right midfield and looked confused. While his passing and defending was nothing to complain about, there will be a lot of questions asked of him. Whether it will be him or Sascha Reither who will earn a starting position at right back against Wolfsburg tomorrow is to be seen.Winners and Losers from Schalke draw with Darmstadt
Latest posts by Lane Plummer (see all)
- Schalke: Five Players Who Need to Step Up for 2016/17 Season - July 25, 2016
- Shakhtar Donetsk 3 – 0 Schalke 04: a Pitiful End to S04’s Europa League Campaign - February 27, 2016
- Schalke Hold Hot Stuttgart to a Draw Sunday - February 23, 2016