December 14, 2017

Shakhtar Donetsk 3 – 0 Schalke 04: a Pitiful End to S04’s Europa League Campaign

It was a pitiful night for the boys in blue as Shakhtar ran riot in the Veltins Arena during the 3-0 win over Schalke. A brace from Facundo Fereyra and a tap in for Viktor Kovalenko saw out the rout of a lacking home side.

It’s obvious who sparkled and who collapsed in this fixture, so let’s try to spice things up for this round of Winners and Losers, shall we? Starting with what will be the highlight of the night…

Loser: Joel Matip

What a shocker from the Liverpool-bound player.

In the 63rd minute, Matip was caught in possession and gave it away merely 20 yards from his own goal, leading to the second goal that left Ralf Fahrmann helpless.

Twitter was at its usual cynical best as Liverpool fans sarcastically put out their happiness for obtaining yet another defender that loves to give the ball away yards from their own goal.

Overall, it was Matip’s worst performance in a Schalke shirt and surely will see him with less playing time as his last few months with Schalke.

Winner: Viktor Kovalenko

The stand out performer of the night was Kovalenko by a mile.

A constant thorn in the home side, neither of their full backs could quite figure out how to read the pacey Shakhtar player. His dribbles and direct runs toward goal helped earn his side the first goal, and he rounded off the night in fashion with the third.

Loser: Franco Di Santo

One might find putting “loser” and “Di Santo” in the same sentence redundant, at this point in the season.

Di Santo had a golden opportunity in the second half to make it 1-1, but somehow made his free header from three yards out look difficult and headed over the crossbar.

Keep on trying, Di Santo. Maybe one day, you won’t be the laughing stock of Bundesliga’s strike force.

Winner: Shakhtar’s last hurrah

The last season with their manager, Mircea Lucescu, is on track to becoming one of the club’s biggest years in its history. On track to the title and have progressed to the Round of 16 in the Europa League.

Lucescu is a club legend, and his team’s unbelievable performance in Germany solidified that not only the fans love him, but the players as well. Which is a far different story than the other manager…

Loser: Andre Breitenreiter

S04’s coach still can’t get it right

We are now in late February, and Breitenreiter is suffering from the same issues he had in early October.

The team’s finishing is one of the poorest in the Bundesliga, only behind Frankfurt and Hoffenheim on goal conversion rate. Their defense Ieaks goals left and right, and has one of the worst defensive records for a team challenging for Europe. Players attack, but look clueless around the penalty box. It’s an ongoing battle between Breitenreiter and his players.

There must be discontent in the locker room. No team that has faith in their manager plays with such a lack of discipline and focus. By a mile, it was Schalke’s worst performance in years, and all the players will be questioning whether they have the right leadership to guide them.