Huub Stevens will not be expected to be in charge of Schalke 04 the next time they step out on the pitch for a Bundesliga game on Friday 18 January 2013 after his side slumped to their fourth defeat in six games, going down 3-1 at home to SC Freiburg.
Schalke 04 made a bright start to the game and got the breakthrough on 20 minutes when Lewis Holtby and Jefferson Farfan broke through two-on-one, leaving behind a static Freiburg defence on the halfway line. Holtby squared the ball for his Peruvian team mate to finish from close range.
The home side then looked good for their lead before the visitors equalised out of the blue on 26 minutes. A scuffed volley from Jan Rosenthal avoided two defenders and beat the diving Timo Hildebrand to tie the match up.
After that it was a game of mistakes for the Royals. First, on 32 minutes, Joel Matip failed to collect a pass, leaving Jonathan Schmid to race through one-on-one and slide pass the encroaching goalkeeper on 32 minutes to put the visitors ahead 2-1.
Freiburg would maintain that lead going into half time. On the hour mark it was 3-1. Christoph Metzelder, who was once a Real Madrid player carelessly gave the ball away in his own half, leading to Jan Rosenthal scoring his second goal of the game. Rosenthal took the opportunity very well from the left hand side of the box firing across Hildebrand with pin-point accuracy.
Schalke had chances to score goals in the game, but a mixture of blocked attempts and offside flags prevented them from scoring after the 20th minute.
A lifeline appeared to be handed to them when Jan Rosenthal was shown a second yellow card with 9 minutes remaining. From the resulting free kick, referee Tobias Stieler saw a foul against Klaas-Jan Huntelaar that no one else did, and the Dutch striker was shown a second yellow.
Prior to being an fault for the Schalke goal, the Freiburg defence had a good game, playing the offside trap successfully and limiting the chances for striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who had just 1 shot all game. Daniel Caligiuri made some good runs and won his side several free kicks, whilst Max Kruse created the majority of the opportunities for the away side, including setting up two goals.
Schalke 04 have now collected just 2 points from their last six Bundesliga games, slipping to 7th place as the Bundesliga takes its winters break. The newspapers were talking about this being Huub Stevens final game in the build up to the match and defeat won’t have helped the experienced coach’s chances of remaining in charge come new year.
Stevens may have one farewell match as Schalke play host to Mainz 05 on Tuesday in the DFB Cup.