Gelsenkirchen (dpa) - Despite a red card against goalkeeper Alexander Nübel, FC Schalke 04 has maintained its Champions League spot two matchdays before Christmas.
The Royal Blues defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 (0-0) and are fourth in the table in front of FC Bayern Munich in the English week at the end of the year - but with major defensive concerns. In temporary defender Weston McKennie, they lost another defensive player due to injury, Captain Nübel should not be used this year after being sent off due to an emergency brake (67th). The winning goal was scored by Benito Raman (53.), who was thus successful in the fourth league game in a row.
For the extremely tired in the 29th competitive game in Frankfurt, a third participation in the European Cup in a row has meanwhile moved far away. After five league games without a win, the coveted sixth place is just as far away as a direct relegation zone.
The Schalke suffered a shock in the 11th minute. Young star McKennie (21), who had already helped out as the last option in central defense due to the injuries of Salif Sané, Matija Nastasic and Benjamin Stambouli, injured himself and had to be carried off the pitch. According to Sky information, McKennie is suspected of a dislocated shoulder. For him, Juan Miranda, a 19-year loan from FC Barcelona, came to Schalke for the first competitive game in front of almost 61,000 fans.
But the Hessians were not only plagued by closures and cancellations - among them were missing Kevin Trapp, David Abraham, Dominik Kohr and Gelson Fernandes - they already had twelve competitive games in their bones than Schalke. For a long time, the guests limited themselves almost exclusively to defensive work, but initially did it reliably.
So the dominant hosts only had three noteworthy chances before the break. Eintracht keeper Frederik Rönnow parried a flick of the national team player Suat Serdar (28th) and against the free Raman (43rd), the defensively strong Ozan Kabak moved far after a solo (41st). Conversely, Eintracht only succeeded in pinching against Schalke's emergency defensive in the first half. Mijat Gacinovic failed once with a sideways pull and once with a head.
After the change, the game became livelier, but the goal only came after a gross mistake: Almamy Touré dribbled on the center line, Omar Mascarell conquered the ball, Amine Harit served Raman and he gave Rönnow no chance. Schalke now seemed clearly on course for victory, because Eintracht could only switch to more offensive with difficulty. When Nübel hit Gacinovic violently with his foot on the chest around 35 meters in front of the goal and had to leave the pitch, the hosts began to tremble tremendously. Guido Burgstaller missed the 2: 0, when he only hit the post (83.) - so it remained exciting in the end.
Information about the game at bundesliga.de