At the sixth attempt, FC Schalke 04 finally managed to get some points on the board, and lifted themselves from the basement in the process. It was hard work for Domenico Tedesco's men, as they managed to see off an obdurate 1. FSV Mainz 05 side.
Following their 0:1 defeat in Freiburg, the Schalke coach made a couple of changes up front. Swiss striker Breel Embolo was on the bench and Cedric Teuchert was dropped, while Alessandro Schöpf and Guido Burgstaller were brought back in. It was a change that finally reaped rewards.
Mainz coach Sandro Schwarz made even more change to the side that had drawn 0:0 with Wolfsburg in midweek, with Daniel Bronsinski, Caricol Aaron, Alexandru Maxim, Karim Onisiwo and Anthony Ujah making way for Philipp Mwene, Gaetan Bussmann, Pierre Kunde, Levin Öztunali and Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Schalke take an early lead
It was not a confident start for the Royal Blues, who looked like a team that had not managed to get a point in five matches. However, when they did get a chance, they made the most of it. A smart cross from Ukrainian Yevhen Konoplyanka was met by Austrian Schöpf, who made no mistake from inside the six yard box after eleven minutes.
It was the perfect confidence booster for Tedesco's men, and they looked far more comfortable after that. However, they were able to put any sort of distance between themselves and their opponents. It did help that Mainz were unable to create any decent chances themselves.
Twice denied by the woodwork
Schwarz's men came out with more intent at the start of the second half, and just two minutes in Jean-Philippe Gbamin was denied by Knappen 'keeper Ralf Fährmann. After that, Schalke decided to sit back a lot more and attack on the break.
Twice, they came close to doubling their lead and closing off the match, only to be denied by the frame of the goal. A Konoplynaka free-kick clattered off the crossbar (59.), and the Ukrainian was again kept out three minutes later.
Mainz would end the stronger, but were unable to threaten Fährmann in the Schalke goal. There will be some massive sighs of relief in Gelsenkirchen, where they can now look forward to a testing Champions League group match against Lokomotiv Moscow.
Result: FC Schalke 04 1 (Schöpf 11.) 1. FSV Mainz 05 0