FC Schalke 04 1-0 SC Paderborn 07: Hünemeier's own-goal gives hosts three points at the death
Image credit: Kicker

Despite being below par for most of the game, Uwe Hünemeier's late own goal gave Schalke a vital three points in the race for Europe. Paderborn, however, now lie bottom of the league.

The tumultuous season at Schalke continued in the build up to the game, after the club took the decision to suspended three players. Marco Höger, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Leon Goretzka, Roman Neustädter and Julian Draxler were replaced by Joel Matip, Sead Kolasinac, Jan Kirchhoff, Jefferson Farfan, Maximilian Meyer and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, as Roberto di Matteo aimed to try and hold onto their Europa League spot.

For Paderborn, depsite a 3-1 loss to VfL Wolfsburg, it was beginning to look like they may just prove everyone wrong and stay up. This was another tough test, however. Rafa Lopez (injured), Marc Vucinovic and Elias Kachunga dropped out of the starting eleven, meaning Christian Strohdiek, Süleyman Koc and Srdjan Lakic earning starting spots.

Moritz Stoppelkamp almost compounded the misery of the Royal Blues faithful early on, though Ralf Fährmann was equal to his twenty-five yard curler. Schalke were stagnant in possession, which was only frustrating the home fans even more.

The hosts started to work their way into the game, though their fellow Westphalians were proving to be a real threat on the break. Lukas Rupp fired just wide from twenty yards, following a lightning quick break, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting went close one-on-one at the other end.

Paderborn continued to push Schalke and would have felt unlucky not to be ahead at the break. Rupp had the goal at his mercy in the final minutes of the first period, after some fine work from Lakic, but he couldn't keep his composure and shot wildly over.

The hosts came out fighting after the break and Lukas Kruse was forced to deny Dennis Aogo's wayward cross, not before Uwe Hünemeier made a fantastic last ditch tackle on Huntelaar. The double change of Goretzka and Draxler for Kirchhoff and Choupo-Moting looked to have put new life into their side.

That early spurt from the substitutes had done little to inspire the home fans and Schalke were unable to capitalise on their dominance. Paderborn still threatened on the counter and only a deflection from Elias Kachunga's rasping drive prevented them from falling behind.

The final chance fell to Aogo but Kruse showed strong wrists to repel the powerful drive and secure a vital point for Paderborn. Well, that was the case until the 88th minute. Schalke's 'put it in the air and hope' policy finally paid dividends when a hopeful cross was nodded past Kruse by captain Hüemeier.

The visitors could hardly believe it, having been sent to the bottom of the league thanks to that goal. Schalke were jubilant, as they'd just secured a place in next season's Europa League.