Match in a sentence
Schalke’s Champions League dreams came to an end on Tuesday night, as Turkish side Galatasaray scored three away goals to defeat them 3-2 at the Veltins Arena.
- Jens Keller fielded his side in a 4-2-3-1 with Teemu Pukki leading the line. Jefferson Farfan, Michel Bastos and Julian Draxler played behind the Finnish striker, while Marco Höger and Roman Neustädter protected the back line. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was unavailable due to injury, while Jermaine Jones was serving his suspension.
- Fatih Terim decided to line his side up in a 4-1-3-2 with Didier Drogba and Burak Yilmaz upfront. Wesley Sneijder, Hamit Altintop and Selcuk Inan played behind the two strikers, while Felipe Melo shielded the back four.
- Going into the match, Schalke would progress with a 0-0 result, which forced Terim’s men to take the game to the German side. They dictated majority of the possession in the first half as Schalke dropped into a 4-4-2, attempting to stay compact and avoiding conceding space in between the lines for Sneijder to exploit.
- Felipe Melo started the first half in fine fashion, the Brazilian midfielder dropped deep to pick up possession and he was allowed time on the ball to spread passes across the pitch. Neustädter was able to do this in the first leg, which led to Schalke’s superiority in possession. The German side began to press Melo, but Altintop and Selcuk Inan dropped deeper and drifted centrally to provide the Turkish side with more passing outlets. As they did for most of the first leg, Drogba and Yilmaz pressed Matip and Höwedes, and Sneijder and Felipe Melo took turns pressing Neustädter. Schalke struggled to build from the back, and they found themselves conceding possession far too often.
- Terim’s men created the better chances in the opening 20 minutes and forced Timo Hildebrand into making two great saves. Both chances came at the expense of Atsuto Uchida, who had a poor first half. Despite being unable to create chances, the Royal Blues took the lead when Neustädter pounced on a ball from six yards out that Galatasaray was unable to clear from an initial corner kick.
- Galatasaray might’ve dominated possession and took the lead in the first half, but it was down to a moment of individual brilliance and a defensive error, rather than their tactical shape. Galatasaray’s midfield diamond ensured that Altintop and Selcuk Inan tracked fullbacks when they got forward, but it allowed them to drift centrally, and this left the Turkish side too narrow. With Sneijder already trying to find his own space in central areas between the lines, the Turkish players were simply taking up each other’s space. With Keller’s men sitting compact in two banks of four, the Turkish side was unable to carve open the Royal Blues. Ultimately Altintop’s 30 yard wonder-strike, and Benedikt Höwedes’ defensive error to allow Yilmaz past him, gave Terim’s men the lead and two vital away goals.
- Like he did against Dortmund, Keller replaced Neustädter for Christian Fuchs, which pushed makeshift left back Sead Kolsinac into the midfield. Galatasaray dropped deeper in the second half, as they were looking to break on the counter to put the game out of reach. Schalke needed two goals to advance at this point, and they were struggling to create chances in the final third.
- Galatasaray full-backs Emmanuel Eboue and Albert Riera were cautious when going forward, but they also had Selcuk Inan, Altintop and Drogba preventing overloads. Uchida and Farfan weren’t allowed space to attack, as their runs were tracked throughout the game. Pukki was lively throughout the game, but he unable to cause much harm to Terim’s backline.
- The one positive for the Royal Blues was Draxler’s performance. The 19-year-old was causing havoc in between the lines, and he created and took a few of Schalke’s chances in the second half. He drifted towards the flanks on a couple of occasions to help Bastos beat Eboue and to exploit space on the counter attacks. In the first leg he dropped deeper to help Neustädter and Höger win the midfield battle, but he failed to do this last night, specifically in the first half when Altintop, Melo and Selcuk Inan were given too much time on the ball to dictate the game.
- Bastos equalised in the second half, which meant the German side needed one more goal to progress to the quarter-finals. Schalke pushed more men forward, but they lacked that extra bit of quality to find a winner. The German side found themselves prone to being exploited on the counter, and they were as Hildebrand made two big saves in the final 15 minutes to keep his side in the tie. In the 94th minute substitute Umut Bulut scored the winner as Schalke committed too many men forward, and were carved open on the break.
- Schalke is the first out of the three German sides to see their Champions League campaign come to an end. They were unable to create chances from wide areas and in the first half their midfield was dominated. They possess a young squad and even with the loss of Lewis Holtby, Draxler has been able to replace the former Royal Blue quite well. A finish in the top four will be Keller’s priority in the final months of the season, and with the squad available, they’re more than capable of achieving that goal.
- Galatasaray progress into the quarter-finals of this competition for the first time in 12 years. They were the better side on the night, and tactically they nullified Schalke’s strengths. Progressing to the next round allows Drogba and tournament leading scorer Yilmaz to build a better partnership, and it also gives Terim more time to find a way to get the best out of Sneijder.
- Fatih Terim: “I want to congratulate all my players – I will hug and kiss them all. Players sometimes known for their limited movement and tackling ability were transformed in this game and fought for the team on the pitch.“
1. Julian Draxler
2. Emmanuel Eboue
3. Hamit Altintop