Thomas Reis and Enrico Maassen stood on the pitch for a long time after the game and put their heads together. There were many exciting scenes for the coaches to discuss after an intense and hectic battle spanning a total of 100 minutes, in which FC Schalke 04, who were still undefeated in the second half of the season, had the majority thanks to a penalty goal by Marius Bülter to make it 1-1 (0-0 ) had saved another point at FC Augsburg in injury time.
One point won or two lost in the relegation battle? That was later the question of the day for everyone involved. "We're happy to take the point," said Schalke coach Reis. He decided to win a point "if you score just before the end". FCA colleague Maaßen agreed with Reis: "The minimum goal was a point and to keep Schalke at bay." A further seven points ahead of the penultimate are "proper".
In their 200th Bundesliga home game, Augsburg were on course for victory after 51 minutes without a goal from attacker Mergim Berisha, who was nominated for the national team for the first time. After a blunder by Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann in front of 30,360 spectators in the sold-out WWK Arena, midfielder Arne Maier took over the goalscoring job of 24-year-old Berisha. Fährmann unnecessarily hit the ball from his penalty area directly at Maier, who scored to make it 1-0 after a one-two with Ermedin Demirovic.
Maassen: "Red card is the sticking point in the game"
Then came the scene that changed the entire game. Because the jubilation had hardly died down when template provider Demirovic saw red (53rd). The Augsburg attacker hit Schalke's Tom Krauß in the jump with his foot stretched out without intention in the face. Krauss was bleeding, referee Daniel Schlager recognized gross foul play. "The red card is the sticking point in the game," said Maassen. Reis agreed: "The red card helped us."
The Schalke coach reacted immediately. Outnumbered, he replaced Simon Terodde as a second center forward alongside Michael Frey. Terodde missed the goal with the greatest opportunity (71st). In stoppage time, however, the attacker won the penalty when he was violently fouled by FCA captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw. Bülter converted with nerves of steel (90. 3). Reis was happy about the late equalizer, but otherwise he criticized his team's offensive game with one man more: "We solved it very badly. If there are no crosses, you can also put eight forwards in."
Augsburg's striker Berisha, on whom the cameras and eyes in the stadium were particularly focused, did not play a leading role on Saturday. The appointment by national coach Hansi Flick gave the 24-year-old a boost, but it fizzled out on the pitch. A header, a good cross, substitution after 74 minutes. "It was a difficult game for Mergim," Maassen said indulgently. "I'm happy for him now that he's going to the national team. He fought for this dream for a long time." He now wishes him his international debut against Peru or Belgium, preferably with a goal that didn't work out against Schalke.