Soccer News of Monday, 16 March 2015
Kevin-Prince Boateng made his first appearance for Schalke since Februrary with a brief cameo away against his former club Hertha Berlin.
The visitors stole a point with a 90th-minute equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw and move one point clear of Augsburg in the Bundesliga table.
While Miners coach Roberto Di Matteo will be disappointed with his side’s defensive play in the capital, he will be encouraged by Schalke’s character. Despite twice falling behind, the seven-time Bundesliga champions never lost their desire and ended up nicking a point.
Hertha initially took the lead through Tunisia international Anis Ben-Hatira, before Senegalese debutant Leroy Sane equalised with a fine effort.
The Old Lady thought they had won it through Genki Haraguchi’s late effort, but they were unable to see out the last 10 minutes of the match, allowing Joel Matip to make it 2-2 at the death.
Boateng entered the contest just before Haraguchi made it 2-1, but he could only watch on helplessly as Timon Wellenreuther’s error led to Hertha taking the ascendency.
The Ghana international has become something of a peripheral figure for Schalke in recent weeks. After Di Matteo took over in October 2014, he enjoyed some good form, contributing assists against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League and Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.
His form has dipped in 2015. Talk of a return to the Ghana squad under Avram Grant led to nothing, but Boateng did deliver a superb display in victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in February.
Since then, however, he has struggled to make an impact, being an unused substitute against Hoffenheim and being suspended for Schalke’s remarkable second-leg tie against Real Madrid.
The result sees the Royal Blues up to fifth in the Bundesliga table. They are two points off fourth-place Gladbach and one ahead of sixth-place Augsburg.