Ten-man Schalke draw blank ahead of Man City clash

Ten-man Schalke draw blank ahead of Man City clash  - FootyNews.co.uk

Schalke 04 warmed-up for the Champions League visit of Manchester City with a goalless draw at home to fellow Bundesliga strugglers Freiburg on Saturday.

Schalke are winless in their last three Bundesliga games and sit just above the relegation places in 14th spot.

Next up is a huge challenge at home to Pep Guardiola’s Premier League giants Man City in their Champions League last 16, first-leg tie on Wednesday.

In Saturday’s bad-tempered clash, both Schalke and Freiburg finished with ten men.

The Royal Blues played for nearly 50 minutes without defensive midfielder Suat Serdar, sent off for a first-half foul, while Freiburg defender Christian Guenter was dismissed late on for a second yellow card.

Schalke came close to conceding a penalty with 10 minutes left when Spanish midfielder Omar Mascarell was suspected of a handball, but the video assistant referee (VAR) over-ruled the referee’s initial decision.

Welsh teenage winger Rabbi Matondo, who Schalke signed last month from Man City, struggled to make an impact on only his second Bundesliga appearance, his first over 90 minutes.

The 18-year-old had a good chance with 16 minutes left but ballooned his shot over the bar.

Freiburg hit the Schalke woodwork twice in the second half through substitutes Jerome Gondorf and Luca Waldschmidt.

League leaders Borussia Dortmund are at bottom side Nuremberg on Monday.

They are two points ahead of Bayern Munich, who won 3-2 at Augsburg on Friday.

RB Leipzig took their chance to stay in the title race as a 3-1 win at Stuttgart left them fourth, just a point behind Borussia Moenchengladbach, who play Sunday at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Yussuf Poulsen netted two goals as Leipzig took the three points.

The Denmark striker opened the scoring after just six minutes when Leipzig’s Germany striker Timo Werner fired in a cross, which clipped a defender’s knee for Poulsen to tap home.

Steven Zuber equalised from the spot for Stuttgart ten minutes later when the video assistant referee spotted the ball had hit Willi Orban’s arm after a Mario Gomez header.

However, Leipzig rallied as midfielder Marcel Sabitzer curled home a superb free-kick with 20 minutes left, then Poulsen claimed his second goal soon after, tapping home following an impressive run by US international Tyler Adams.

Wolfsburg climbed to fifth with a 3-0 win at Mainz with goals by midfielder Maximilian Arnold, striker Wout Weghorst and defender Robin Knoche.

hoffenheim also moved up after Algeria forward Ishak Belfodil, Brazilian striker Joelinton and Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay netted in their 3-0 win at second-from-bottom Hanover 96 to go seventh.