Schalke's fall in the Bundesliga continued when Werder Bremen was beaten 1-0.
After a rather slow opening of 30 minutes, Leonardo Bittencourt gave Bremen the lead and rolled from outside the area into the upper corner.
Schalke improved after the break, but could not overcome the deficit and fell to a fourth consecutive loss as Werder approached security.
The worst team in the Bundesliga continues to run badly: Important statistics from Schalke 0-1 Werder Bremen…
- Schalke is the only team that has lost all four games since the Bundesliga returned.
- Werder Bremen has won the last four away games against Schalke, the best record since the Bundesliga was founded.
- For the first time since 2014, Bremen played three times in a row in the Bundesliga without conceding a goal.
- Schalke's run of 11 Bundesliga games without a win is the worst since 1996/97 (also 11).
- The home team has won only six of the 32 Bundesliga games behind closed doors since the league restart.
Is the great escape to Bremen?
Werder Bremen is one of the most historic clubs in the Bundesliga. As a founding member, no other club has spent more seasons in the Bundesliga than Werder Bremen's 55, together with Hamburg. Of the teams currently playing in the Bundesliga, only Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen were in the top division for longer than Bremen's current run of 37. However, this run is doubtful.
When the Bundesliga returned from its short break in May, Werder Bremen was 17th, four points behind Fortuna Düsseldorf in the relegation play-off and eight points behind security. Fate around Bremen continued to grow after a 4-1 home win over Leverkusen, but just two weeks later things seem to be getting much better.
YES!! COME IN !! Wer # werder # S04SVW pic.twitter.com/BdVF6zjtut
– SV Werder Bremen EN (@werderbremen_de) May 30, 2020
With two wins and a draw in the next three games, including a hard-fought stalemate against the top 4 challengers Borussia Mönchengladbach and the win on Saturday against Schalke, Bremen was able to close the gap in 15th place in Mainz to just three points .
Bremen will take even more advantage of the fact that they also have a game in hand in the middle of the week against Eintracht Frankfurt. In a win against the Eagles, who are 12th, Bremen could at least move into the play-off position of relegation, provided Fortuna doesn't get a shock result against Bayern Munich on Saturday evening.
Can Bremen do that?
The next five games
June 03, 2020: Werder Bremen vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)
June 07, 2020: Werder Bremen vs Wolfsburg (Bundesliga)
June 13, 2020: Paderborn vs Werder Bremen (Bundesliga)
June 16, 2020: Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)
June 20, 2020: Mainz vs Werder Bremen (Bundesliga)
What's next for Wagner and Schalke?
When Germany went into the winter break towards the end of December, Schalke found itself well positioned to secure a European place.
David Wagner's men were fifth in the table after a 2-2 draw against Freiburg, but tied for fourth with Borussia Dortmund and only five behind Borussia Mönchengladbach in second place. This gap was then reduced to two points after Schalke defeated Gladbach 2-0 when the Bundesliga returned in January, fulfilling hopes for Champions League football in Gelsenkirchen. But then something went wrong.
Since this win against Gladbach, Schalke has played eleven games, including Saturday's game against Werder Bremen with four draws and seven losses, scoring only three goals.
Even before the game in the Veltins Arena began, Wagner took the line of fire by replacing Markus Schubert in the Schalke goal with Alexander Nubel. Nubel started the season as captain of Schalke, but was moved out after agreeing to move to Bayern Munich as soon as his contract expired in the summer. Nubel had been on the bench in the last four games and Wagner looked to the future, but a recall given Schubert's poor form shows how desperate the former Huddersfield boss is after a win.
But it didn't come against Bremen. A catastrophic first half, in which Schalke lost 1-0, turned out to be a setback, although Wagner's men were in the lead after the break. The Royal Blues are now 10th, six points behind Wolfsburg in the last Europa League, and it seems they will be playing for pride in their last five games.
Last five games
June 07, 2020: Union Berlin vs Schalke (Bundesliga)
June 14, 2020: Schalke vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga)
June 17, 2020: Eintracht Frankfurt vs Schalke (Bundesliga)
June 20, 2020: Schalke vs Wolfsburg (Bundesliga)
June 27, 2020: Freiburg vs Schalke (Bundesliga)
Focus on players: Jean-Clair Todibo
When Jean-Clair Todibo moved from Toulouse to Barcelona last year, the prospect of what he would do to defend her for the future was very exciting. After struggling to get into the first team in the first half of the 2019/20 season, the 20-year-old was loaned to Schalke for the rest of the season.
For the French in Gelsenkirchen, however, things did not go according to plan – the game on Saturday summarizes its previous magic. In eight Bundesliga games for Schalke, four of them from the start, Todibo still has to win, a run that he continued against Bremen.
Like the rest of his Schalke teammates, Todibo fought against Bremen in the first half and had to stop working to protect Alexander Nubel's goal. But just before half-time, as part of Schalke's high defense, Davy Klaassen expropriated Todibo far too easily when he tried to roll through a crowd near the center line.
Leonardo Bittencourt, that's something special 🎯👏
A huge goal for Werder Bremen's battle for the fall!
Schalke is in free fall … pic.twitter.com/bT4wFpWdAh
– 🇩🇪Yes! See the Bundesliga live on BT Sport🇩🇪 (@btsportfootball) on May 30, 2020
The tackle allowed Bremen to break out of position with Todibo and eventually ended up in Bittencourt's rocket of a strike. Shortly before, he was booked for a poor duel against Joshua Sargent, which may have prompted Wagner at half-time when Todibo was replaced by Bastian Oczipka as part of a tactical change.
With only five games left in the Bundesliga season, Todibo is running out of time to impress his parents' club.
The rest of the day
- Hertha Berlin 2-0 Augsburg: Hertha Berlin continued its good run under Bruno Labaddia and advanced to ninth place.
- Mainz 0-1 Hoffenheim: Ihias Bebou scored the only goal of the game as Mainz remain in the relegation battle.
- Wolfsburg 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt: Eintracht moved further away from the relegation zone thanks to a late win thanks to the goals of Andre Silva and Daichi Kamada.