Champions League

Schalke sink Galatasaray to close on knockout berth

Guido Burgstaller (AFP)
Guido Burgstaller (AFP)

Gelsenkirchen - Schalke have one foot in the Champions League knockout stages after a 2-0 win over Galatasaray at the Veltins-Arena on Tuesday.

Languishing in 14th place in the Bundesliga after ten rounds, pressure had begun to build on coach Domenico Tedesco who put together a stellar first year in charge in 2017-18.

His side were gifted the early lead in the fourth minute after a goalkeeping error. Galatasaray keeper Fernando Muslera attempted to tackle Schalke's Guido Burgstaller on the right edge of the box, despite defender Serdar Aziz appearing to have Burgstaller well under control.

Muslera grasped the ball but released it as he slid outside the penalty area. Burgstaller collected before turning it into an open net, giving Schalke a dream start and being only the second player to score against Galatasaray this campaign.

Replays showed Muslera was lucky to stay on the pitch after handling the ball outside the box. Just over ten minutes later, Schalke keeper Alexander Nubel showed Muslera how it's done, diffusing a dangerous Galatasaray counter attack on the edge of the area.

Galatasaray had a chance to level in the 50th minute after winning a free-kick just outside the box, but midfielder Garry Rodrigues drove his shot straight into the wall.

Schalke doubled their lead in the 57th minute through Mark Uth. A cross from Burgstaller found Uth in front of goal, who was unmarked despite having five defenders in close proximity.

Schalke were rarely troubled at the back, with Matija Nastasic a standout in defence.

Schalke are now four points ahead of the third-placed Galatasaray in Group D with two games to play.

The German side look set to return to the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

For Galatasaray, their path to the knockouts has become more difficult. The Turkish side will need to win both of their remaining matches and hope for other results to go their way to qualify.

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