After his botched debut as the new coach of Schalke 04, Thomas Reis high-fived his players and encouraged his pros.
Although the bottom of the Bundesliga lost against SC Freiburg on Sunday with a 0-2 (0-1) loss and is still in deep crisis with the new coach, the mood after the final whistle was still rather positive. The Schalke fans celebrated their team with loud chants after the sobering bankruptcy. "Let's go Schalke fight and win" sang the supporters, there was support instead of whistles.
"There must be more for sure, because we lost the game. I knew that the path would not be easy - and you saw that today. It is now time to start at this point," said Reis at DAZN. Schalke striker Sebastian Polter summed up what he saw as a good start: "The fight was right, but in the end it wasn't enough. We can't buy anything for it."
Schalke tried, but harmless
The Gelsenkircheners deservedly lost to the Europa League round of 16 in front of their home crowd at the end of a turbulent week. Vincenzo Grifo (45.1 minute/61.penalty) scored the goals in front of 61,115 spectators at Schalke for a playfully superior and confident Freiburg side. The hosts struggled, were offensive but completely harmless. Freiburg, on the other hand, continues its furious season and is third in the table.
"It was important to take the three points here," said Freiburg international Matthias Ginter: "After the break it was important that we keep going. I think we deserved to win. We played it through in a disciplined manner." Grifo added: "We dominated the game, had a lot of strength and scored the goals at the right time."
Reis made three changes in his first game as Schalke coach and relied on Sebastian Polter in the center of the attack. Second division record scorer Simon Terodde initially had to go to the bench. Before the commitment of former Bochum coach Reis, the surprising resignation of sports director Rouven Schröder for personal reasons caused a lot of unrest around S04 during the week. However, the fans were not discouraged by this and the precarious sporting situation. They showed an impressive choreography and loudly cheered on their team.
At the beginning, this only had a limited effect on the Schalke footballers. Although the effort was right, initially only Freiburg played forward. The guests trained by Christian Streich had significantly more ball possession and controlled the midfield. However, they did not create the very clear chances at first.
In the 25th minute, Ritsu Doan failed from a promising position to Schalke goalkeeper and former Freiburg player Alexander Schwolow (25th). Ten minutes later, Kerim Calhanoglu, who had just come on for the injured Thomas Ouwejan, had Schalke's first opportunity. However, his shot flew just over the Freiburg goal.
Grifo-Schlenzer takes the lead at half-time
The entertainment value of the game was very limited and there were many indications that the score would be 0-0 at half-time. A precise flick from Grifo put Freiburg in the lead in injury time in the first half. It was the noble technician's fifth Bundesliga goal of the season. Reis, who coached with dedication and gestures, took a sober sip from the water bottle in the Schalke club sweater.
Shortly after the change of sides, the 49-year-old experienced the next moment of shock. After a less than ideal Schwolow defense, Woo-yeong Jeong had a big chance to make it 0:2, but didn't hit the ball properly in front of the almost empty goal (53'). Eight minutes later, Grifo did better. Referee Christian Dingert awarded a penalty after watching a video of Calhanoglu fouling Jeong. Grifo took the opportunity for his next goal.
The game was thus decided. Freiburg controlled the game like a top team. More than one chance for Tom Krauss, which SCF goalkeeper Mark Flekken parried, and a shot by Tobias Mohr, which flew wide of the goal, didn't jump out for Schalke.
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