Konoplyanka fires Schalke into the second round

FC Schalke 04 got the job done on Domenico Tedesco’s competitive debut in the Royal Blues dugout on Monday (14.08), beating BFC Dynamo in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Yevhen Konoplyanka scored the goals at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark in Berlin.

The Royal Blues started in a 3-4-3 formation against the fourth-tier side, with Amine Harit, Bastian Oczipka and Weston McKennie all making their debuts in the starting XI. 

Goalless first half in Berlin

The Royal Blues started with a high intensity, pressing well and putting the hosts under immediate pressure. BFC sat deep, hoping for counter opportunities, but struggled to get out their own half in the early stages. As expected, the game’s first good chance fell to the Royal Blues, Yevhen Konoplyanka latching on to Oczipka’ back-heeled pass but firing wide of Bernhard Hendl’s goal. Moments later, the next big chance fell to Guido Burgstaller, but the Austrian was unable to properly connect with Oczipka’s cross. 

The Berlin side slowly found their way into the game, breaking through on one or two occasions, though Schalke continued to have the better of the game. However, the hosts battled bravely and there were few chances inside the BFC box. The best chance of the half arguably fell to Matthias Steinborn, who forced an excellent save from Ralf Fährmann following a poor clearance from Benjamin Stambouli

Goretzka hits the crossbar

The fourth-tier side had the first chance of the second half, as Francis Adomah headed goalwards following Ugurtan Cepni’s free kick, though Fährmann was on hand once again to deny them the opening goal. At the other end, Konoplyanka passed up the next chance to give Schalke the lead, but once again failed to hit the target. Substitute Leon Goretzka almost made an instant impact, but his half-volleyed strike rattled off the crossbar after a fingertip save from Hendl. 

Late Konoplyanka brace seals victory

The breakthrough finally came in the 78th minute, when Konoplyanka latched onto a fine Goretzka through ball to fire past Hendl from just inside the box. A second for the Ukrainian came just four minutes later in similar fashion, though this time it was Max Meyer providing the defence-splitting pass. 

Second round to be drawn on Sunday

Schalke’s next opponent’s will be RB Leipzig in their first game of the new Bundesliga season on Saturday (19.08) at 18:30 CEST. The following day, the draw will take place for the second round of the DFB-Pokal, which takes place on 24th and 25th October.