Live Commentary: Maribor 0-1 Schalke 04 - as it happened

Live Commentary: Maribor 0-1 Schalke 04 - as it happened
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Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of Schalke's Champions League win away to Maribor in Slovenia.

Schalke 04 have moved into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Maribor in Slovenia tonight.

Roberto Di Matteo's side went into their final Group G game knowing that they must win and hope group winners Chelsea beat Sporting Lisbon.

The Blues' 3-1 win over the Portuguese side opened the door for Schalke, who obliged as Max Meyer fired the only goal of the game to seal their progression.

Read how all the action unfolded in Sports Mole's live commentary below.


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6.47pmGood evening ladies and gentlemen. I'm Shane and I'll be guiding you through Schalke's must-win Champions League clash away to Maribor in their last game of Group G this season. Thankfully, there's so much to play for here tonight so let's have a look at what is at stake, shall we? Why not.

6.50pmIt's undoubtedly the biggest night of Roberto Di Matteo's relatively young Schalke career so far, because the Royal Blues need to beat quite a decent Maribor side tonight, but the Italian also needs a big favour from former club Chelsea. Victory for Schalke isn't enough to see them into the last 16; they also need the Group G winners to beat second-placed Sporting Lisbon at Stamford Bridge - but they must focus on Maribor and, unfortunately for them, they'll be no pushovers tonight.

6.53pmAnti Simundza's side, although eliminated from the Champions League, can secure a Europa League berth if they beat Schalke tonight. Yep, both sides need a victory tonight and they're the ingredients of what will be a very good game, my friends. Schalke really are up against it, though.

6.56pmThey were held to a 1-1 draw with Maribor in Gelsenkirchen on matchday two, with Klaas Jan Huntelaar cancelling out Damjan Bohar's first-half effort. Simundza and co also held high-flying Chelsea to a 1-1 draw here last month. They're no mugs and Schalke's task is made all the more difficult by the fact they're missing so many of their big-name players.

6.59pmDi Matteo is without the likes of Julian Draxler [hamstring], Sidney Sam [thigh], Kevin-Prince Boateng [ankle], Jefferson Farfan [knee], Joel Matip [foot] and Felipe Santana [thigh]. Ominous, eh?

7.01pmBut a sombre note now and it's been brought to my attention that Amir Dervisevic is sidelined tonight with a toothache, and Sports Mole wishes the 22-year-old a full and swift recovery from this affliction. I had more poignant words written down on a page, but my dog ate it, and I'd write it out again, but I have a sore tummy.

7.04pmRight, let's get down to the nitty and gritty of team news, shall we? I'll have this very soon indeed.

7.06pmMARIBOR XI: Handanovic; Stojanovic, Rajcevic, Arghus, Viler; Mertelj, Sallalich, Ibraimi, Filipovic, Bohar; Tavares

7.07pm SCHALKE XI: Fahrmann; Neustadter, Kirchhoff, Howedes; Uchida, Fuchs, Aogo, Hoger, Barnetta; Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar

7.08pmMARIBOR SUBS: Cotman, Suler, Mejac, Zahovic, Mendy, Vrsic, Ndiaye

7.09pmSCHALKE SUBS: Giefer, Friedrich, Kaan Ayhan, Sobottka, Meyer, Clemens, Sane

7.12pmAlright let's look at Schalke firstly and I can tell you that Klaas Jan Huntelaar spearheads the attack, with Choupo-Moting - who scored a hat-trick at the weekend - in support. Behind them you'll find Tranquillo Barnetta, Marco Hoger, Dennis Aogo, Christian Fuchs and Atsuto Uchida in a five-man midfield. Roman Neudstadter, Benedikt Howedes and Jan Kirchhoff line up in defence ahead of goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann. How far he can he throw a ball? Really Fahrmann.

7.15pmOn to the hosts now and Ante Simundza has surprisingly NOT elected to start Luka Zahovic up front, instead Tavares will spearhead the attack, with Damjan Bohar - who scored in the reverse fixture in Germany - in close support. Zeljko Filipovic, Agim Ibraimi, Sintayehu Sallalich and Ales Mertelj in midfield. Petar Stojanovic - normally a midfielder - drops back to right-back for this one, with Mitja Viler on the other flank. Aleksander Rajcevic partners Arghus in the heart of defence.

7.17pmI don't need to tell you about Arghus - his catalogue speaks for itself. I apologise. And finally, the brilliant Jasmin Handanovic starts in goal. Ask Chelsea fans about him. He made around seven top-class saves against them here in November. He's really quite good and Huntelaar and co will have to play well to beat him.

7.20pmDANGER MAN: Who can Schalke look to for a bit of inspiration tonight amid their injury crisis? Well, we've mentioned the players they're missing, but we also have to speak about Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who spearheads the Royal Blues tonight. The Dutchman has struck three Champions League goals in five games this season, and has seven in the Bundesliga so far. He's one of those players that could spend the entire game on the periphery before pouncing with a decisive goal. He's so dangerous and Maribor will need to watch him like a hawk.

7.23pmWhat about Maribor? Well they've got a few heavy-hitters, but I think Zahovic poses most threat for the hosts tonight. He's only 19 but he's got a decent future ahead of him, and scored a last-gasp equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Sporting Lisbon in October. However, he is on the bench tonight so he'll have to be an impact sub. We should also note Tavares who, despite still searching for his first Champions League goal, has 10 goals in the Slovenian top flight this season.

7.26pmTavares has deserved a goal in this competition. I've seen him a few times and he always works his socks off, so hopefully he breaks his duck tonight. He's massive aswell so Schalke's defence will have their hands full. Imagine John Coffy if he was decent at football. Yeah.

7.29pmIncidentally, this is Maribor's last game for two months due to what seems a very generous winter break, with Simundza's side not back in action again until February, and the Maribor coach has earmarked a win tonight to ensure his side can enjoy their holidays. He told UEFA.com: "We know how strong Schalke are. They are the favourites, of course. But we will be ready to take our chance if there is one. If we win, we will have an excellent winter break at Maribor."

7.32pmIt's so hard not to like Maribor. They beat Celtic in the last playoff round to seal their first group-stage berth since 1999 I think - Simundza actually played for Maribor the last time they were in the group stage - and they've done really well given their size. Here's a quick story of their Champions League story thus far:

7.34pmThey held Sporting Lisbon and Schalke to consecutive 1-1 draws in the first two matchdays, before being brought down to earth with a bang by losing 6-0 at Chelsea! However, they bounced back and managed to hold the Blues to a 1-1 draw at the Ljudski stadium two weeks later, with goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic particularly brilliant that night, before losing 3-1 to Sporting in Portugal last time out. Not bad, eh? The fact they haven't been beaten here says it all about how difficult it is for Schalke tonight.

7.37pmHow have Schalke found themselves in a rather precarious position then? They held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on matchday one, before being held themselves by Maribor in Gelsenkirchen. Two points so far. They then got off the mark by edging out Sporting in a thrilling 4-3 win, but they lost the return fixture in Portugal two weeks later. Then they got absolutely annihilated by Chelsea at the Veltins Arena, losing 5-0 on a night which saw Di Matteo well and truly beaten by the club that sacked him. That must've hurt.

7.40pmWe can't forget that Di Matteo actually won Chelsea their one and only Champions League title back in 2012. He's clearly got some degree of nous, and he'll need to use it all tonight because, as we've said, this is far from easy. Here's quite a good omen for them tonight, though:



7.42pmRight, the players are out on the field and Schalke have plenty of fans in attendance here, and they're quite vocal, too. However, I've done Maribor games before and that mob pipe up a little bit too let me tell you. It's interesting to see which fans come out on top.

1 minRESTART! Aaaaaaaaaaaaand we're off at the Ljudski Stadium, my friends. Schalke have to win. So do Maribor. Beautifully poised.

3 minPretty tentative start from both sides here in truth, with neither team doing much in the attacking third as of yet.

5 minSHOT! We've seen the game's first shot, and it's Schalke, as Barnetta does well to control Aogo's over-hit pass, before firing left-footed and his shot trickles just wide of the goal. Handanovic acted like he had it covered but it wasn't that far away.

8 minIt hasn't quite been the game we thought it' be just yet, but it's only eight minutes old. I'd be worried about Tavares if I was Maribor coach Ante Simundza. His main striker is dropping far too deep to collect the ball and there's no purple shirt up there when he gets it.

10 minReally disjointed performance from both so far unfortunately, with that shot Barnetta being the only bit of goal-mouth action so far. Very cagey affair, which is understandable because there's a lot at stake for both sides.

12 minSHOT! Well it's taken about 12 minutes but Maribor fashion their first shot at goal. Bohar plays the ball up to Ibraimim, who turns his marker well but his volley is well over the bar. Poor effort.

14 minUPDATE: Some very, very good news on the way for Schalke fans now, and Chelsea are beating Sporting Lisbon 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. If it stays like that in West London, and Schalke win, then they're going through to the last 16.

16 minSHOT! This is a bit more like it from Maribor, as Tavares drills a left-footed shot at goal, but Ralf Fahrmann gets down well to gather, which was key because Ibraimi was lurking.

18 minCLOSE! Decent opening for Schalke now as Uchida floats a decent ball into the box but Barnetta can't generate enough power or direction in his header and it drifts wide. The tempo is picking up a little bit now.

19 minUPDATE! Better news for Schalke now as Chelsea lead Sporting 2-0. Remember: if it stays like that, and Schalke win, then the Germans moves into the last 16 with Chelsea.

22 minCHANCE! Oh my word how crucial could this prove to be from Uchida. The right-back is stationed on the post to block Arghus's goal-bound header from a corner, before producing another crucial block, this one from point-blank range as Tavares looked to convert the rebound. Brilliant from Uchida.

25 minMaribor much the better team in recent minutes but they might regret that last opportunity. When Schalke find out that Chelsea are winning 2-0, and they will, then they'll need to go all out at some point.

28 minThe game was stopped briefly there as flares were removed from the field. Why do some fans even bother turning up? Ridiculous. It was actually the only sign of flair in an otherwise rather dull game, but there's still no place for stuff like that. Really poor.

30 minSHOT! It's 4-2 to Maribor in shots anyway, as left-back Mitja Viler tries his luck from range but it flies over the bar. Wasn't his best effort.

32 minChoupo-Moting did really well there, sticking it between the legs of Viler before going to ground in the area in an apparent dive. Disappointing stuff. Lord knows why he wasn't booked.

35 mins10 minutes left until half time and neither side really look like opening the scoring just yet. Maribor have had far and away the bet chance but there's a bit frustration among the Schalke players at the minutes and the hosts can exploit that.

38 minBrilliant play from Maribor then as the Slovenian fashion a corner, but it comes to nothing and Schalke can get it away. Sallanich was looked bright when Maribor get him on the ball, which hasn't been enough.

41 minSHOT! Good work from Huntelaar, who cuts inside Arghus and hits a left-footed cross-come-shot just wide of Handanovic's post. That's the first we've seen from the Dutchman.

44 minCHANCE! Oh Huntelaar what have you done! The Dutchman showed great skill to turn his marker on the halfway line, leaving him on his you know what, before galloping toward goal. His route to goal was made easier when Arghus slipped on the edge of the box, but instead of squaring to the unmarked Choupo-Moting in support, Huntelaar went himself and thrashed well over the bar. What a brilliant chance that was.

8.32pmHALF TIME: MARIBOR 0-0 SCHALKE:

8.35pmWhat did we make of that half then? Wasn't great, was it? There was two glorious chances, with Tavares seeing his shot cleared off the line by Uchida, who did really well to be honest, and then Huntelaar sprinted toward goal after a clever turn set him free, but he shot from outside the box instead of squaring to Choupo-Moting.

8.38pmAnd, sadly, because of the permutations tonight, one of those player will end up rueing that miss because both sides need to win. Chelsea still beating Sporting 2-0 by the way, so expect a big effort from Schalke in the second half.

45 minRESTART: And we're back underway in Slovenia, my friends. Schalke, playing from right to left, kick us off once more. They'll know Chelsea are winning, which is effectively part one of their job tonight. Part two? Beat Maribor and they're through! Easier said than done but let's see what the second half throws up.

48 minReally good block there from Rajcevic to cut out Christian Fuchs's low cross. It looked to be heading straight for Huntelaar that did so it was a crucial intervention.

52 minSHOT! Good play from Maribor as Bohar's clever back-heels releases Tavares, who cuts inside on to his right foot and fires a shot just wide of Farhmann's post. The Schalke keeper had it covered all the way. Better from Maribor, who have been second best thus far.

55 minOFF THE POST! Schalke quite literally could not come any closer to scoring than this. Huntelaar capitalises on a defensive error from Viler inside the box before slotting past Handanovic, but his shot hits the inside the post and rolls across the goal line before being cleared! Dramatic scenes at the Ljudski Stadium. Schalke plays want a goal, but it was a brilliant decision from the ref and his assistants.

58 minUPDATE: It's 3-1 to Chelsea now. Sporting equalised but Mikel restored their two-goal lead. As a reminder, it has to stay like that, and Schalke have to win in order to progress. Huge last half hour or so.

61 minRoberto Di Matteo is absolutely fuming down there. Christian Fuchs did well to ride a couple of challenges, but his final ball into the box was really poor.

63 minGOAL!!! MARIBOR 0-1 SCHALKE (Max Meyer)

65 minSchalke, as it stands, are moving into the last 16 folks! And it's second-half sub Meyer, who taps into an empty net after Handanovic punched a cross straight to him. Poor goalkeeping really.

67 minThat goal was coming in fairness. Maribor have been second best in this half and have created next to nothing in front of goal. They need a route back into this one but I don't see one at the moment.

70 minSAVE! Handanovic might want to see a doctor in the morning for broken fingers. He's just tipped Aogo's ridiculously powerful shot over the bar and those fingers will be sore tomorrow. Good save though.

73 minUPDATE: It's still 3-1 to Chelsea folks so, as it stands, Schalke are joining the Blues in the last 16.

76 minSUBSTITUTION: Dare Vrsic has replaced Petar Stojanovic, who looked like he suffered a knee injury I think. It's not the sub Maribor need, though; they need a striker up there, and Luka Zahovic is probably their best option.

79 minSHOT! Filipovic tries his luck from range now, but it's a shocking effort and it flies over the bar. It's been a really poor second half from them.

82 minSHOT! Another pretty dreadful shot from Filipovic there, but Maribor are growing into the game more and more in recent minutes. They need to score twice in the last 10 minutes. Hmm.

83 minSUBSTITUTION: They've finally introduced Zahovic, who can score goals. He replaces Ibraimi but there's not long left at all.

86 minCLOSE! Oh no this is probably Maribor's last chance to score. Dare Vrsic pops up on the right-hand side and drags a left-footed shot wide of Fahrmann's goal. The keeper wasn't reaching it but if only it was a bit more accurate.

90 minTHREE MINUTES ADDED ON:

90 + 1 minVrsic swings a decent free kick into the box now as Maribor look to prevent Schalke from moving into the last 16, but Howedes, who has been excellent, heads away. This one is petering out.

9.35pmFULL TIME: MARIBOR 0-1 SCHALKE 04

9.36pmSchalke have done it folks! They're into the last 16 of the Champions League courtesy of Max Meyer's second-half winner. The sub came up with the goods by firing the Royal Blue ahead after 62 minutes.

9.37pmThey move into the last 16 as Group G runners-up behind Chelsea, who beat Sporting Lisbon to consign the the Portuguese giants to the Europa League. Anyway that's all we've got time for tonight folks. Thanks for joining our commentary and stay tuned for analysis and player ratings soon. Stay classy.

Schalke's Nigerian forward Chinedu Obasi (C) celebrates scoring with Schalke's Italian head coach Roberto Di Matteo and Schalke's Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in a game against Sporting on October 21, 2014
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