Miracle 0-0 draw to FrankfurtBy: Shane | October 27th, 2010
This picture serves as the perfect metaphor for Schalke. You ever had one of those old cars where the same bad script keeps repeating itself? One part breaks down, you take it to the mechanic who fixes it, but lo and behold soon after you discover some new part has broken down, so you take it back to the mechanic and they fix that, and then soon after another part….You get the picture. This week the broken part was at fullback. Uchida was something akin to an obnoxious clanking noise in the car: annoying but not fatal. Lukas Schmitz on the other hand was like going down a steep hill and your front tire flies off the axle into the gutter. Schmitz was completely destroyed by Patrick Ochs in the 2nd half. Yes, you heard that correctly. Patrick Ochs! Mr. Average, Mr. Bland, Mr. Meh.
The first half was an even affair with a minimal amount of quality chances. The best was probably Jurado’s pass to create a great opportunity for Raul, but Nikolov made a solid save. The even scoreline at the half was deserved. Frankfurt started the 2nd half the brighter, but it was not dominating. Then the 60th minute rolled around. This is where I think every single Schalke fan played this out in their head:
“I see Matip is about to come on. This must clearly be for Jones who just picked up an idiotic yellow card and probably should have seen straight red. Given our past history in playing with 10 men this season it is completely logical to make a straight center DM swap of Matip for Jones. I like this decision.
And Matip comes on for Jurado. What. WHAT!? Why? What the hell! Are we playing for a draw? What is Magath doing! Why is our only creative player leaving the pitch with 30 minutes to play so we can play a midfield of 3 defensive mids!?”
For the next 30 minutes Frankfurt shellacked us. It was like a gunnery range. Somehow, someway they never found the back of the net. Altintop’s open net miss is going to win “miss of the season” when May 2011 rolls around. Perhaps his subconscious love for his past time at Schalke prevented him from putting it in. Ending shot count: Frankfurt 17, Schalke 5. Schalke shots in the 2nd half? Zero. In the final 20 minutes I think the Schalke 04 announcer said “Mann oh Mann!” and “Oh, mein Gott!” about 50 times. There was nothing else you could say.
Yes, the decision to take off Jurado was simply Magath at his most brilliant. I am baffled. Whatever plan he had in mind certainly did not happen. For the last 20 you could see him screaming on the sidelines and motioning to push up. His intention seems to be that “Bad Boy” Jones would play as an attacking mid. Well, that worked out about as expected. Another bizarre sub choice was Sarpei’s introduction in the 85th. Did the left back come on for our left back on the pitch, Schmitz, who was being flayed alive by Patrick Ochs? Of course not! Instead, Uchida at RB was taken off. This made no sense. Also, given how badly Schmitz was being destroyed, perhaps the Sarpei introduction, who is definitely our best LB defensively but offers little going forward, could have happened earlier than the 85th minute? Maybe like the 70th when Schmitz was repeatedly being bent over? Magath has made a lot of dumb decisions this season. I don’t think anyone can contest that fact.
I mentioned it previous to the Frankfurt match. Schmitz has an awful football IQ. He does not read the game well. He does not anticipate. He does not position himself correctly. On two occasions in the match I saw him opt to “guard” a patch of grass on the sideline where there was no threat to our goal, instead of Patrick Ochs who was slipping inside him towards Neuer to receive a pass. He just doesn’t get it.
If anything this was the day the realization hit that this team is mid table quality (at best?). It’s also probably the day, when we look back later, that Neuer began packing his bags.
Current Point Total:
9 Matches Played in BL ——> 6 points
3 Matches Played in CL ——–> 6 points
This reminds me of something from last season. The epic car crash called Hertha Berlin. This was their statistics through the first half of the season:
17 Matches Played in BL ——> 6 points
6 Matches Played in EL ——-> 10 points
Now, I’m not trying to make that drastic of a comparison or saying we’re going to get relegated, but we have been prolifically bad and have an equal amount of points in the BL as in our CL group with 6 more matches played. Hard to believe in 9 BL matches we have a single win. We haven’t been stomped by anyone, except Dortmund, but this weekend at home to Leverkusen I could easily see a 3 goal loss, which should have been the margin against Eintracht Frankfurt this week.
In some mid-week good news we did beat the other, smaller Frankfurt club, FSV Frankfurt, in the 2nd round of the DFB Pokal winning 1-0 thanks to an early Jurado strike from outside the box. We dominated the first half but never put the game away. In the 2nd half we became too lax and were lucky to not concede and let FSV back into it. At least we’re moving on in the Pokal and we’ll take any win we can get these days even if it’s against a mid table BL II side.