FC Schalke 04 is almost inexorably stumbling towards relegation after losing to RB Leipzig as well. At the start of the 17th matchday of the Bundesliga, the Thomas Reis-coached team had little chance and rightly lost 6-1 (4-0) to the formidable DFB Cup winners from Saxony. Schalke is still in last place with only nine points, while Leipzig has been Bayern’s first pursuer for at least one day following 15 consecutive competitive games without a loss.
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Tuesday night, a crowd of 56,841 witnessed goals from André Silva (7th/44th minute), Benjamin Henrichs (15th), Timo Werner (45th + 2nd), Dani Olmo (83rd), and Yussuf Poulsen. The goals were scored by Gelsenkirchen spectators for the vastly superior visitors. For Schalke, Soichiro Kozuki scored the lone goal (56th).
Leipzig took the lead right away. After being bogged on a counterattack, national striker Werner, who had been out of the starting lineup since early November after injuring his syndesmosis ligament, passed the ball to Silva. A wise choice: The Portuguese took advantage of the visitors’ first opportunity to score with a fine low shot to take the lead.
Schalke supporters sang obscene songs about Timo Werner of Leipzig.
The Schalke supporters sang loudly offensive songs about the hated Red Bull team and Werner in particular in response to the early setback. This had no impact on her team. It was 0:2 after twenty-four minutes. Henrichs was given free reign by the exceptional Olmo, who was directly responsible for four Leipzig goals, and the full-back scored his first goal of the year.
The Schalke players were stunned as Leipzig raced ahead. When a lower-class squad had to defend against a top-flight side in the first round of the cup, they couldn’t even begin to do it. At moments, that was how the game felt. Alexander Scholow, the goalie for Schalke, faced onslaught after attack. After 30 minutes, the residents of Gelsenkirchen could thank the 30-year-old that the time wasn’t 0:3 or 0:4.
The Schalke defense stayed completely out of the fights.
The defense for Schalke made no effort to engage in any combat. Additionally, Leipzig’s Xaver Schlager and Konrad Laimer, whose summer transfer to FC Bayern Munich is confirmed by “Kicker,” had total control of the midfield center.
The Revierklub didn’t start to balance the game out until late in the first half. Schalke failed to generate a scoring opportunity, though. Simon Terodde was replaced as the center forward by new acquisition Michael Frey, who struggled but did not win outright.
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The Leipzig onslaught was different: Silva and Werner scored additional goals to end the game before halftime, and Olmo and substitute Poulsen added another goal in the closing seconds. The hosts’ glum demeanor was also in keeping with the injury that forced Tom Krauß, RB on loan from Schalke, to leave before the change of sides.
Leipzig relaxed a little bit as the game went on. Schalke improved their performance and at least scored. Kozuki advanced with the ball in a technically challenging way, scoring his first Bundesliga goal. But Schalke had no further options. For the conventional club, relegation is getting farther and farther out of reach.