The hope was in vain, in the end Schalke 04 had to take the bitter path back to the second division.
The Schalke fans defiantly stretched their scarves in the air, while their defeated heroes sat on the lawn deeply disappointed: Coach Thomas Reis’ team lost 2: 4 (1: 2) at RB Leipzig, which is not the fifth relegation in the club’s history to avert more. Schalke follows Hertha BSC directly in league two.
Goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann slowly squatted down in front of his goal, covering his face with his hand to hide his tears. Team manager Gerald Asamoah ran across the pitch trying to somehow cheer up his heartbroken players. Reis went into the curve and applauded the fans who had traveled with him.
Konrad Laimer (10′), Christopher Nkunku (19’/90’+4′) and Yussuf Poulsen (83′) destroyed Schalke’s last hopes of staying up in the league with their goals for Leipzig. The goal by Marcin Kaminski (28th) and an own goal by Willi Orban (49th) were not enough for the Royal Blues to leave the penultimate place in the table. Nkunku’s two goals joined Bremen’s Niclas Füllkrug at the top of the scorers’ list, each scoring 16 times.
Leipzig superior – Schalke holds well against it
The hosts immediately put the pressure on in front of 47,069 fans in the sold-out Red Bull Arena. Timo Werner missed the lightning start after failing to get the ball in time after a pass from Laimer in the opposing penalty area (3′). But Schalke held up well, running up Leipzig again and again. On the other hand, Marius Bülter tested RB keeper Örjan Nyland, who was preferred to Janis Blaswich (4th).
In the Schalke goal, Reis relied on the recovered Ralf Fährmann, who replaced Alexander Schwolow, in the decisive game of the season. However, even he could not prevent the early deficit. Fährmann repelled Dani Olmo’s shot, Laimer then only had to push in.
Orban “clears” to 2: 2 into his own goal
A little later Nkunku let several opponents stand and raised, but shortly afterwards missed the opportunity to make it 3-0. However, the guests, who had to do without the yellow card suspension duo Simon Terodde and Moritz Jenz, were not discouraged. Kaminski headed the goal from a corner.
After the break, Schalke immediately had the opportunity to equalize: the guests attacked early and, thanks to Dominick Drexler, got the ball in the penalty area, Marius Bülter hit the post, Orban finally steered the ball into his own goal when trying to clear it. Schalke then continued to try and initially had the Leipzig advances largely under control before the home side finally prevailed.
RB Leipzig – Schalke 04: The voices of the game
Marco Rose (RB Leipzig coach): “We wanted to win again, get a good feeling, stay healthy. We helped Christo again, and he helped himself to get the top scorer. Otherwise, I wish Thomas Reis and Schalke 04 only the best for coming back. Schalke 04 belongs in the Bundesliga.”
Thomas Reis (Schalke 04 coach): “Today isn’t such a nice day. Logically, Leipzig made life very difficult for us, they were very grippy from the start. You’re 2-0 down and then I can’t blame my team anymore. If you look at the second half of the season , for which we unfortunately can’t buy anything, but I definitely saw the way in which we came back today with the mentality and the belief that we might still be able to achieve something impossible was a reflection of the season, we didn’t seal relegation today.”
RB Leipzig – Schalke 04: The data for the game
Leipzig: Nyland – Simakan, Klostermann, Orban, Halstenberg (61st room) – Laimer (61st Schlager), Haidara (46th Kampl) – Olmo, Forsberg (68th Szoboszlai) – Timo Werner (61st Poulsen), Nkunku. – Coach: Rose
Schalke: Ferryman – Brunner, van den Berg, Kaminski, Matriciani (70 Ouwejan) – Latza (75 Karaman), Kral – Drexler, Zalazar (56 Mohr), Bülter – Polter. – Trainer: Rice