Kießling heads Werkself to victory

The Werkself's 1-0 win at FC Schalke makes up ground in the Bundesliga table. Stefan Kießling netted the only goal of the game in a hard-fought Sunday night encounter against the Royal Blues with a header on 89 minutes.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Roger Schmidt again rotated his squad following the Champions League match against Monaco: Bernd Leno returned in goal in place of Ramazan Özcan with Benjamin Henrichs, Jonathan Tah, Ömer Toprak and Charles Aránguiz starting in place of Danny da Costa, Tin Jedvaj, Aleksandar Dragovic and Vladlen Yurchenko (all on the bench). The Bayer 04 coach still had to manage without the injured Karim Bellarabi (rehab after ligament operation), Lars Bender (foot), Kevin Kampl (metatarsal), Admir Mehmedi (groin) and Kevin Volland (thigh).

Hectic start

The match got off to a hectic start. Just four minutes into the game, the Schalke defender Naldo was shown the red card after he fouled Chicharito on the edge of the box and was adjudged to have prevented a goalscoring opportunity. Chicharito had intercepted a back pass from Sead Kolasinac and was bearing down on the Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann.

The hosts focused on solid defensive work and playing on the break when they could – mostly via the lightning fast Yevhen Konoplyanka who posed a constant threat. The Werkself took more and more control of the game but the battling ten men of Schalke restricted openings for the Bayer 04 attack. The only attempts on goal for the Werkself in the first half came from Chicharito (19’) and Stefan Kießling (33’). For Schalke, chances fell to Konoplyanka (7’, 9’, 24’) and Thilo Kehrer (39’) but they also missed the target so the two sides went in level at the break with score at 0-0.

Schmidt made two changes at half-time: Kai Havertz and Vladlen Yurchenko came on for Aránguiz and Julian Baumgartlinger. Both were able to observe from the bench how Schalke fought their way back into match as they pressed forward in search of the opening goal. The disciplined Werkself defence was able to hold the line with the only shots on goal coming from Konoplyanka (59’) and Kolasinac (62’). There was little sign of the Bayer 04 attack making headway at the other end.

Tah strike chalked off

The high tempo of the game led to an increasing number of defensive errors on both sides as the the players tired. The match developed into an attritional battle. Jonathan Tah found the back of the Schalke net on 75 minutes but his effort was disallowed due to an offside decision against Havertz.

The Werkself moved up a gear in the closing stages and the team coached by Markus Weinzierl found it almost impossible to create decent openings. Wendell tried his luck from twelve yards out following a corner but his shot on 82 minutes went over the bar. The host keeper Fährmann then saved from Chicharito. It was Stefan Kießling who went one better in the penultimate of the 90 minutes. A free kick from Hakan Calhanoglu curled into the middle of the box and the unmarked Werkself striker rose to place his header in the far corner of the Schalke net to secure a 1-0 win for Bayer 04.

The victory puts the Werkself on 20 points in eighth place. The next Bundesliga fixture for Bayer 04 is on Sunday (17.30 CET) when second to bottom FC Ingolstadt visit the BayArena in the final home game of the year.

Match stats

FC Schalke 04: Fährmann – Kehrer, Naldo, Kolasinac, Geis (Avdijaj 90’) – Schöpf, Baba – Goretzka, Meyer (Bentaleb 79’) – Konoplyanka (Stambouli 86’)– Choupo-Moting

Bayer 04: Leno – Henrichs, Tah, Toprak (Dragovic 58’), Wendell – Baumgartlinger (Yurchenko 46’),Aránguiz (Havertz 46’)– Brandt, Calhanoglu – Chicharito, Kießling

Goal: 0-1 Kießling (89’)

Booked: Meyer, Kehrer, Baba – Toprak, Baumgartlinger, Havertz

Sent off: Naldo (4’)

Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberasbach)

Attendance: 60,821 (sell-out)

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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