Schalke may be bottom of the table but they enjoyed the better start in Gelsenkirchen and took an early lead. Michael Frey’s precise cross from the left into the centre found Dominick Drexler, who headed the hosts in front (10′). Shortly afterwards, Chris Führich had a presentable opportunity to level the scoreline but was unable to find the net (15′). The home side were subsequently happy to concede possession to VfB, who struggled to create any chances of note in the final third bar a couple of attempts from captain Wataru Endo. Schalke grew into the game once more around the half-hour mark and immediately looked dangerous, only for Frey and Rodridgo Zalazar to be thwarted by VfB goalkeeper Fabian Bredlow (31′, 35′). Schalke did score again before the interval, however, when Zalazar got the better of Borna Sosa out wide and crossed into the middle for Marius Bülter, who scored an eye-catching back-heeled goal (40′).
Bruno Labbadia’s charges came out for the second half with greater purpose, putting their hosts under pressure straight away. While Ralf Fährmann was able to tip an effort from Sosa over the bar shortly after the restart (51′), there was nothing he could do to keep out the left-back’s swerving 64th-minute strike from 20 yards to reduce the deficit. VfB continued to apply pressure and both Endo and Silas went close to getting an equaliser (66′). Schalke also went on the front foot, though, and almost grabbed the decider through Moritz Jenz’s header that flew narrowly wide (72′). VfB were unable to carve out any more chances of note, leaving them empty-handed at the final whistle.
10th minute (1-0): Frey crosses from the left for Drexler, who heads in from close range.
40th minute (2-0): Zalazar has too much pace for Sosa and crosses for Bülter, who doubles Schalke’s lead with a back-heel.
64th minute (2-1): Sosa shoots from 20 metres. The ball slips through Fährmann’s arms and into the net.
VfB head coach Bruno Labbadia: “We wanted to stop Schalke playing long balls forward but we weren’t resolute enough to prevent that happening. A lot of the time we weren’t able to win the second balls. It’s very frustrating because they scored far too easily and we were asleep for the entire first half. We lacked courage here today.”