David Wagner opted for two alterations following the impressive win in Leipzig last weekend. Daniel Caligiuri and Mark Uth came into the starting line-up, as Rabbi Matondo and Weston McKennie had to settle for a place on the bench.
Achim Beierlorzer made six changes to the side that were beaten by Hertha BSC last Sunday. Jorge Meré (suspended) and Dominick Drexler (injured) missed out altogether, while Benno Schmitz, Marco Höger, Jhon Cordoba and Anthony Modeste dropped to the bench. That meant there were starts for Kingsley Ehizibue, Rafael Czichos, Noah Katterbach (debut), Kingsley Schindler, Louis Schaub and Simon Terodde.
The opening 15 minutes in Gelsenkirchen were evenly matched. As Timo Horn gathered an early free-kick, Kingsley Schindler tested Alexander Nübel with a low drive moments later. Schindler and Ehizibue were looking dangerous down the right, and Noah Katterbach was putting in an enterprising performance on his senior debut for his boyhood club.
FC were the team to create the first major chance of the match. A fine run from Florian Kainz on the left saw the Austrian dig out a cross to the back post, where Kingsley Ehizibue appeared at the last moment. He managed to get a head on the ball, though his powerful header was straight at Alexander Nübel.
That effort seemed to wake Schalke up and they became increasingly dangerous. Achim Beierlorzer’s men were fortunate that a driven free-kick from the left-hand side only clipped the post after coming off an FC head. The remainder of the half, much like the minutes that preceded, were full of fouls. In total, five players were handed yellow cards in the first period.
Schalke made one change at the break, which saw Weston McKennie replace former FC man, Mark Uth. The American was lively and helped open up space for Bastian Oczipka, though his shot was comfortably held by Timo Horn. Guido Burgstaller went closest to opening the scoring in the opening 10 minutes, but he could only slide Daniel Caligiuri’s cutback wide of the near post.
Simon Terodde responded in kind and very nearly provided the breakthrough for FC. Florian Kainz’s corner was met perfectly by the towering striker, only for a superb save from Alexander Nübel to deny him. Terodde continued to cause trouble for the Schalke defence, but a yellow card then saw him replaced by Jhon Cordoba.
Schalke then made the breakthrough. Salif Sane rose at the back post to head back across goal and, despite the best efforts of Ellyes Skhiri to keep it out, Suat Serdar was able to power the ball home. FC tried to look for a way back into the game and brought on Anthony Modeste in search of an equaliser.
Guido Burgstaller cracked the post at the other end as Modeste was superbly denied again by Nübel. It looked like Schalke had scrambled away with the three points, but the resulting corner was swung in by Florian Kainz and headed home by Jonas Hector. Cue wild celebrations on the bench, on the bench and in the away end. A deserved point before the international break.
FC Schalke 04 (4-4-2): Nübel – Kenny, Stambouli, Sané, Oczipka – Caligiuri (Kutucu 60’), Serdar, Mascarell, Harit – Burgstaller, Uth (McKennie 46’).
1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): Horn – Ehizibue (Risse 80‘), Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach – Skhiri, Hector – Schindler, Schaub (Modeste 78’), Kainz – Terodde (Cordoba 70‘).
Goals: 1:0, Serdar 72‘. 1:1, Hector 90+2‘.
Referee: Tobias Welz (Wiesbaden).
Bookings: Kenny (20’), Katterbach (22’), Serdar (35’), Ehizibue (40’), Sané (45’), Oczipka (64’), Terodde (67’), Modeste (90+2').
Attendance: 61,883 (sold-out).