Domenico Tedesco has proven to be a breath of fresh air in Gelsenkirchen. Struggling to find stability at their helm, Schalke took the risk in hiring young (32 years old), inexperienced (11 matches as a head coach, at Erzgebirge Aue last spring). Sometimes a risk has to be taken in order to achieve the aspirations of the club. So far, so good for Schalke. Currently finding themselves in 5th, Schalke have put in some solid performances and proved that they are in for the long haul this season.
Wolfsburg have had a rocky start to the Bundesliga. Sitting in 14th, they have struggled to achieve stability and consistency. Lacking the performances of their Bundesliga winning season under Felix Magath in 2009, Wolfsburg have struggled in finding the suitable coach to move them forward. Sacking Andries Jonker after their disappointing start to the season, Wolfsburg looked to the wisdom of former Mainz coach Martin Schmidt to take them forward. On a five game draw streak in the Bundesliga since taking charge, Schmidt would be hoping he could lead his team to their second win of the season.
With the Veltins-Arena bouncing, the referee blew the whistle to commence the first half meeting between the two clubs Saturday. The home side applied early pressure, leaving Wolfsburg to go for long and accurate passes. Hassling the Wolfsburg defense, Franco Di Santo left the opposing team with limited space in building up from the back. Working the pitch, blue shirts could be found everywhere. Applying the pressure and working their way into space, Schalke soon found themselves in attacking positions. However, the game was still open and it could go either way for both sides. Schalke’s first chance of the game came in the 11th minute when Thilo Kehrer’s strike from range was saved by Koen Casteels. The away side saw Mario Gomez’s header go into the back of the net after a free kick, but it was correctly ruled offside. Largely untroubled in the opening 15 minutes, both keepers were left waiting for incoming attacks. A bullet header from Di Santo called Casteels into action.
Progressing further into the game, the Royal Blues were becoming the attacking side. Working themselves into space and creating opportunities, the team from Gelsenkirchen were hungry to score. With pressure mounting, on occasions Wolfsburg looked rattled and frustrated. Schalke sought to take advantage of that. Saving multiple strikes from blue shirts, Casteels was active in between the posts. The home side’s opportunity came towards the end of the first half when VAR awarded them a penalty. Stepping up to the spot, Nabil Bentaleb calmly slotted it past Casteels. Advantage Schalke.
The initial stages of the second half saw Wolfsburg struggling to find the ball. Continuing their pressure, Schalke found themselves limit the opposing team’s space, especially when they looked to implement an attack. Controversy hit the second half when Wolfsburg were awarded a questionable penalty. After consideration from VAR and the referee, it was awarded. Stepping up to the spot, the experienced Mario Gomez sent the ball high and wide. As time progressed the away side increased their activity. Driving forward and looking for attacking avenues, Wolfsburg were desperate bring this game level. Unfortunately for the Wolves, Schalke were keeping their shape, resulting in Wolfsburg’s opportunities being limited. Despite the score line, Schalke were hungry for more. Pressing on and creating chances, the home side wanted to make sure they would come away with three points. Schalke would have wished they tried harder in their performance. Caught out by a long ball, the Schalke defense was left picking up the pieces when Divock Origi saved the day for Wolfsburg. The home side will be disappointed and frustrated with the score line after their performance. This will be regarded as two points dropped.
Divock Origi saves the day for Wolfsburg. The Belgians last-minute goal salvaged a limited performance against Schalke, who deserved to come away with three points. All of sudden, the result meant frustration and disappoint for Tedesco’s side, and sigh of relief for Wolfsburg.
Man of the Match
Thilo Kehrer (92% passing accuracy, 2 shots, 2 tackles, 3 interceptions, 4 clearances)
- Schalke: 47%
- Wolfsburg: 53%
- Schalke: 14
- Wolfsburg: 7
- Schalke: 10
- Wolfsburg: 7
Talking Points Schalke
- Tedesco – It’s becoming clear that Schalke’s decision to hire Tedesco was the right choice. His transformation of the team has the Gelsenkirchen siderejuvenated in playing a style of football that was lacking previously. Schalke’s solid performance deserved three points, but a stoppage time goal from Origi denied the victory.
- Pressure – Schalke’s ability to apply pressure and close down space was on full display against Wolfsburg. Whether it be Di Santo hassling Wolfsburg’s defense, or the Royal Blues swarming around an opposing player, they were doing it all. As a result, Wolfsburg struggling to create threatening opportunities. It’s evident in the fact that the visitors were limited to five chances created and seven shots, only two being on target. Despite the frustrating result, the future looks bright in Gelsenkirchen.
- Attack – The attacking ability and talent at Schalke is clear. Working their way into space, as well as creating space, puts them in a good position to score goals and win games. With 14 shots, 50% shot accuracy, and 10 chances created, Schalke arguably should have scored more against Wolfsburg. Ultimately they were punished for not doing so.
Talking Points Wolfsburg
- Another Draw – This was yet another draw for Wolfsburg and Martin Schmidt. Since taking over the club, Schmidt has drawn all of his 6 games in charge. As a result, Wolfsburg currently sit 13th in the Bundesliga after their result against Schalke. Depending other results, that may change. Schmidt will have to dig deep and hope he can get his team to winning ways.
- Undeserved – Wolfsburg come away from the Veltins-Arena with an undeserved point. For a majority of the game their performance was lacklustre. Unable to create threatening opportunities, the away side were left frustrated. Schalke’s pressure proved to be a difficult task to deal with. Wolfsburg’s best chance of the game when Gomez’s header was disallowed and a controversial penalty was sent high and wide. Origi’s goal showed that the game isn’t over until the whistle is blown. Credit to Wolfsburg, they fought till the end.
- Divock Origi – Coming on in the 77th minute, Divock Origi set out to make a point. Adding speed and an ability to get in and behind the defense, the Belgian provide an uplift for Wolfsburg. His last-minute goal saved the disappointing performance. Catching Schalke unawares, Origi was able to getting into the perfect position to slot the ball into the back of the net. Divock Origi saved the day.
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