Sunday, March 26, 2023

Schalke Beaten By Bayern But Could They Finally Have Their Missing Identity?

Must Read
Amit Mishra
Former Editor at The 4th Official. Liverpool and Schalke make my life miserable.

When Robert Lewandowski ghosted in-between Naldo and Benedikt Howedes to score Bayern’s opening goal at the Veltins Arena, the skipper’s anguished reaction pretty much summed it up. The feeling was mutual Bene. For 80 odd minutes, Schalke stuck to their game plan, frustrated Bayern and played some neat passes that threatened the Red machine. But the Bavarians’ undeniable quality came to the fore and in the end, you couldn’t really argue too much with the result.

To be honest, a majority of the Schalke fans expected it to be a heavily one-sided encounter. The embarrassing performance against Eintracht Frankfurt coupled with the starting line-up for the game (which had three new faces), inevitably made the fans ponder if the team was ready to take on the Holders who simply toyed with Werder Bremen on the opening weekend.

To the surprise of many, Schalke started strongly and easily shaded the opening 10 minutes. Bayern were expected to dominate the possession, so Weinzierl’s only ruse was to play on the break, and boy did he get the setup right to arrive at that.

Giving Leon Goretzka the number 10 role was a wise decision which resulted in the German putting one of his best performances in recent times. The lad was highly rated when he broke through to the first team, but despite all the fantasies, there wasn’t really a game where you could point out and say, ‘that’s Goretzka.’ Tonight was different, though.

The game against Bayern could well be the one that defines the lad. At 21, he still has a brilliant future ahead, but tonight’s game might have given us a hint where he could feature more often this season. Max Meyer was benched, and understandably so as Goretzka offers the work rate. Whenever he received the ball, he made the forward runs and had that classy touch.

The midfielder misplaced five passes, three out of which were in a bid to set his team on the front-foot. Well, at least he wasn’t trying to sit on the fence, something Schalke have been accused of in the last couple of years.

Goretzka was supported well by Bentaleb and Stambouli who were playing for together for the first time this season, and came up with more than decent performances. The latter, after a slow start where he was disposed and gave the ball away cheaply, slowly grew into the game and was a key cog in the pressing that neutralised Xabi Alonso and Renato Sanches’ impact. The second half saw Ancelotti bringing on fresher players in Vidal and Costa which had a massive bearing on the game, and credit to the Italian for making the changes.


Despite all the positives, the game did throw more questions than answers. It’s easy enough to be a counter-attacking side that Schalke could go on to become considering the players they have signed. The midfield trio performed well and with Geis on the bench, the depth is there. There aren’t too many ways of playing against Bayern. Pressing them and countering is one, something that Die Knappen did well in patches earlier. So was it just a one-off game where the gaffer decided to use the counter tactics?

The biggest issue is the forward line. Breel Embolo cost an arm and a leg, but the fans are still unsure if playing him on the right is the best decision. Huntelaar, despite his profligacy in recent times, is still undroppable it seems. Chupo-Moting had a good game, but could he be another option who can be used up front?  If Goretzka can impress consistently in the role he was given earlier tonight, Meyer might be a decent option on the left which will allow the gaffer to test Chupo-Moting up front. The options are all there, but having had a bad start, the caginess in experimenting is likely to prevail.

It indeed takes two to tango and Schalke have learned that in the games they have played. Their attack needs to get their act together soon as they are two games into the league and have no goals to show for, which means no wins.

I’m sure the game provided the chance to talk a lot over a pint of beer for the fans who truly were brilliant and vocal as usual (except maybe for the little bit of nonchalance shown when Muller was taking a corner). How the team will line up next time is everyone’s guess, but we got a little hint of what they are good at.

The identity has been sorely lacking in the last couple of years. The way the team pressed in the first half did remind me of the Ralf Rangnick days. Why not stick to that, Markus? The team ran out of gas in the end, but we gave Bayern a good run for their money tonight.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Follow Our Tweets On Twitter

Latest News

Chelsea Can Bring Back Their Former Academy Graduate: Should Boehly Activate The Buyback Clause?

According to a report from Football.London, Chelsea can bring back Tammy Abraham of AS Roma as they had a...

More Articles Like This