D.FC Schalke 04 kept their nerve in the drama of promotion to the second division and made a prematurely perfect return to the upper house of football. In the 3: 2 (0: 2) top match against FC St. Pauli, the leaders even took on a 0: 2 gap at half time and paved the way for a fourth promotion total to the Bundesliga with a brilliant final sprint. In front of 61,271 spectators in the sold-out Veltins Arena, Simon Terodde (47th / foulelfmeter / 71st) and Rodrigo Zalazar (78th) scored the hard-fought victory on Saturday, which was cheered euphorically by their own fans.
The autumn champions of the second division St. Pauli, on the other hand, said goodbye to the race for promotion after the sixth consecutive game without a win despite the opening double goal of Igor Matanivic (9th / 17th). With a three-point gap from second HSV and third Darmstadt and significantly worse goal difference, there are only theoretical chances. Werder Bremen can also advance to second place with a win on Sunday in Aue. In the 81st minute, Hamburg’s Marcel Beifus saw a red card after a nasty foul, while his team-mate Matanovic got a yellow card in added time.
As in 1: 4 two weeks ago in the same place against Bremen, the high expectations made things difficult for Schalke. In the presence of the legends of the Revierclub “Eurofighter”, who celebrated their 25th anniversary this weekend following their 1997 UEFA Cup triumph, they were close to a dream start. After a mistake by defender Beifus, the scorer Terodde appeared alone in front of the opponent’s goal in the first minute but was blocked by visiting goalkeeper Dennis Smarsch.
But the “Kiezkicker”, weakened by various Corona cases, kept his cool in the heated atmosphere of the stadium and immediately seized the first opportunity. Jackson Irvine kicked a pass from Leart Paqarada to Matanovic, who put the ball in the lead with a shot from the turn. When the 19-year-old lone striker scored again just eight minutes later after another Irvine pass and a subsequent solo, Schalke was sober again.
However, the leaders showed a positive reaction and pushed – pushed by her fans – to the Hamburg goal. Despite all her zeal, she was negligent with her opportunities. Dominick Drexler and Terodde (33 °) miss the possible goal in a questionable way on a cross from Marius Bülter. A penalty whistle from referee Marco Fritz shortly after the restart revived Schalke. This time Terodde did not miss the chance to score and turned into safety.
That was the beginning of another phase of pressure for the hosts. The guest coverage didn’t last long with the growing pressure. Terodde was there again and turned the home arena into a madhouse. However, Zalazar, who had just entered as a substitute, provided the highlight and final. After a pass from Bülter, the wild card takes courage and perfects Schalke’s luck with a powerful shot under the crossbar. “The feeling is incredible. It was our dream. We had to fight for it, you don’t get it for free,” coach Büskens told Sky: “A big compliment to the squad. It’s incredible.”