I was looking for Schalke and Werder Bremen to rebound from their disappointing weekend performances and take their European counterparts to the woodshed for an old-fashioned beatdown. What actually happened though, was nowhere near as entertaining and not at all as positive.
Werder Bremen 0 – 2 Twente Enschede
A very even game turned unexpectedly sour after Torsten Frings’ outburst earned him a straight red-card with just 15 minutes left to play. Twente capitalized on the German veteran’s uncharacteristic stupidity, and made it all look easy again ten men. Nacer Chadli and Luuk de Jong were the scorers on the night for the Dutch side, who have now leapfrogged Bremen in the group table and have virtually knocked them out of European competition for the season. Another poor performance, and another disappointing defeat. And at home, no less. I think Thomas Schaaf will be given to the end of the season, unless things really go pear-shaped. He’s been a great servant to the club, but it does look like change is needed.
Hapoel Tel-Aviv 0 – 0 Schalke 04
It’s a long way to travel and it’s a hot atmosphere, but excuses won’t cut it here for Schalke. Felix Magath brought in proven forwards in the summer, and they’ve failed to make the desired impact so far. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Raul promised much on paper, but they’ve been largely disappointing. It could be a lack of service from the midfield, or it could be a lack of motivation on the part of the management, but whatever it is, it isn’t good. Huntelaar has at least got himself amongst the goals, but he’s far from his best all season. Schalke look likely to go out of the competition after this result, because they’ve now go to travel to Benfica and host Lyon. Failing to get results in those two matches, or even one of those matches depending on how Benfica and Lyon do against Hapoel, could mean an early exit from Europe for Felix Magath. Rooted to the bottom of the table in the Bundesliga, and fading out of the Champions League – all by Christmas. Who saw it coming?
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