Frankfurt defeat in-form Schalke


Schalke saw their promising start to the new year ended by Eintracht Frankfurt as the distraction of a midweek Champions League tie with Real Madrid appeared to be too great for Roberto Di Matteo's men. Lucas Piazon scored the only goal of the game in the 64th minute as Frankfurt coach Thomas Schaaf marked his 500th game on the touchline with a win. Schalke's response came too late as they lost for the first time in 2015, just days before they host Real in their biggest game of the year so far. In a first half bereft of chances, Schalke would have been kicking themselves – almost literally – for wasting theirs. Christian Fuchs was through with only Kevin Trapp to beat but, as he tried to chip the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper, he instead got his foot stuck in the ground and flew over Trapp without the ball, hurting his shoulder as he landed. After receiving treatment, the Austrian was able to continue, spending more time with attacking duties than defensive ones as the Royal Blues did not show the same defensive mentality they have had in recent matches. Without the suspended Klaas Jan Huntelaar their attack remained rather blunt, though, with Tranquillo Barnetta doing his best to test Trapp late in the first half. Frankfurt attacked a little more in the second half and they were unlucky not to get a penalty when Atsuto Uchida nudged the ball past Benedikt Howedes and appeared to be fouled inside the penalty area. The referee did not see anything untoward, though, and waved play on. Frankfurt were now dictating the play and, in the 65th minute, they took the lead. Timothy Chandler's cross seemed to be falling just behind Piazon, but he arched his back and was able to guide the ball into the far corner. Haris Seferovic had a chance to double the Eagles' lead as the game opened up, but Schalke's reaction came too late. Only in the final five minutes did Di Matteo's men start to throw men forward and Jan Kirchhoff and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting both went agonisingly close to levelling. There was not enough time for them to build a head of steam, though, and Frankfurt were able to hold on to a win which keeps them in ninth, with Schalke now fourth after Borussia Monchengladbach's win over Cologne earlier on Saturday.