While relegation from Germany's top footballing flight remains a practical certainty, Bundesliga football club FC Schalke 04 managed to both score their first goal and win their first match under their fifth trainer of the campaign.
|Suat Serdar.||Photo: Елена Рыбакова, Soccer.ru, CC BY-SA 3.0|
Dimitrios Grammozis' Königsblauen attained just their second win of the 2020/21 campaign with a hard fought 1-0 win over Augsburg at the Veltins Arena. It took an early goalkeeping error from FCA net minder Rafal Gikiewicz to hand the S04 a 4th minute lead. Returning Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann preserved the lead with several impressive stops of his own.
Grammozis retained his 5-3-2 from last week with Can Bozdogan (for the injured Sead Kolasinac) and Bastian Oczipka (for the rested Kerim Calhanoglu) the only two outfield changes. A once-again-healthy Ralf Fährmann returned to replace Frederick Rønnow in goal.
On his 24th birthday, German national team midfielder Suat Serdar found himself the recipient of a most propitious present. FCA backstop Gikiewicz failed to secure a Bozdogan cross in the 4th. Serdar was on hand to turn in the the spilled rebound.
The hosting Westphalians immediately shelled up to defend their lead. Fährmann made the first of many fine saves on Marco Richter in the 24th. Pressing higher a bit, Serdar and Omar Mascarell were able generate minimally dangerous chances before the end of the half.
The visiting Bavarian-Swabians, with Tobias Strobl on in place of Rani Khedira at the half, looked a bit better in possession after the restart. A Benjamin Stambouli error nearly gifted them the equalizer. Fährmann, however, stood tall against Ruben Vargas.
Richter tested Fährmann yet again in the 76th whilst Gikiewicz made an excellent full-stretch parry on a Klaas Jan Huntelaar direct free kick in the 81st.
At the end of the day, the scoreline held. Schalke remain ten points below their nearest relegation contenders and twelve points below the playoff place; differences that almost certainly cannot be overcome.