Schalke 04 1-2 Norwich City: Canaries wrap up German tour on a winning note
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Teemu Pukki and Moritz Leitner’s deflected strike sealed an encouraging 2-1 friendly win to wrap up Norwich City’s German tour on a positive note.
Rabbi Matondo replied for David Wagner's club early in the second half but the Canaries were full value for the victory in Lotte.
Ben Godfrey returned after scans gave him the all clear following an early ankle injury exit in the opening game of the tour last weekend against Arminia Bielefeld.
That allowed Jamal Lewis to revert to a more familiar left back role with Max Aarons preferred to start ahead of Sam Byram on the opposite flank days after signing a new longer term deal.
Tom Trybull partnered Leitner in midfield with Todd Cantwell getting another chance to impress in a three with Marco Stiepermann and Patrick Roberts behind former Schalke 04 striker Pukki.
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Ralf Fahrmann sat out the friendly against his parent club and there was also no place for Emi Buendia or the rest of City's travelling party, who have either picked up knocks or are working their way back to full fitness.
Schalke 04 chief Wagner had a long chat with his former Huddersfield ally Stuart Webber and Borussi Dortmund II predecessor Daniel Farke on the pitch prior to the game
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Godfrey conceded a cheap corner kick in the seventh minute but Stiepermann read the danger and drifted to the back post to head clear.
Leitner was then penalised for a foul on Schalke 04 captain Benjamin Stambouli a yard outside Tim Krul's box but Matjia Nastasic clipped his effort over the top.
Wagner's Huddersfield sides were built on high pressing, high energy and in the early sparring Norwich's centre backs had no time to dally.
But it was the German backline that was pierced in the 13th minute, when Patrick Roberts rolled a first time ball in behind for Pukki to draw the keeper and coolly slot from 16 yards for his second goal of the tour.
City almost produced a repeat three minutes later when Stiepermann this time cashed in on a high line to free Pukki who was forced wide by the keeper.
Aarons had to throw himself in the way of Steven Skrzybski's strike midway through the opening period after Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny had skipped past Cantwell.
Schalke 04 were dominating possession through the middle of the park without really threatening to test Krul until Munir Mercan worked some space but clubbed over from 20 yards.
City's best plan of attack remained the counter, and it should have brought a second in the 34th minute when Stiepermann again had time and space to slide in Pukki who this time dragged wide of the far post.
It could have been proved a costly miss had Krul not smothered at the feet of Skrzybski, with City cut open for the first time in the friendly.
Michael McGovern replaced Krul at the break but Farke opted to retain the same outfield line up. Norwich started the second period in confident fashion, with Pukki's spiralling shot taking a deflection but Schalke 04 clearing
But the Canaries' were caught out straight from the cleared near post corner with the Germans out-numbering City's backline in a move that ended with a combination of McGovern and the diving Aarons deflecting Skrzybski's strike into the path of Matondo on the line.
Stiepermann was foiled by Markus Schubert at the other end before the keeper sliced a clearance to his compatriot who slipped as he shaped to shot and the ball ballooned over from 16 yards.
But City's persistence paid off on the hour mark when Pukki escaped down the right before a cut back the sliding Leitner helped over the line with the help of a large deflection to wrong foot Schubert.
Norwich's response after conceding an equaliser was impressive. There was an intensity to the pressing that appeared to catch Schalke 04 by surprise.
Wagner looked to his bench for inspiration and made a triple change but it was Matondo again causing problems when he squared up Hanley, who was booked for taking emergency action.
Mercan bent the free kick around the Norwich wall but beyond McGovern's right-hand post.
Farke responded with a trio of his own substitutions that saw Pukki depart to a warm reception from the Schalke 04 fans.
Norwich's head coach also tweaked the shape with Aarons moving to left wing back and Byram down the right as Godfrey and Lewis flanked Hanley in a three.
Another of City's late arrivals, Onel Hernandez, was foiled by Schubert in the closing stages when the keeper guessed correctly to block with an outstretched left leg.
Adam Idah was the last City substitute and he would have had a tap in if Hernandez had squared earlier following a clever turn from the Republic of Ireland youth international.
Schubert then denied both Trybull and Godfrey in a frantic finale.
- Schalke 04 (starting XI): Schubert, Nastasic, Mascarell, Raman, Stambouli, Burgstaller, Kenny, Skrzybski, Harit, Oczipka, Mercan.
- Goal: Matondo (48)
- Norwich City: Krul (McGovern 45), Aarons, Godfrey, Hanley, Lewis (Heise 82), Trbyull, Leitner, Roberts (Byram 75), Stiepermann (Hernandez 75), Cantwell (Idah 85), Pukki (Srbeny 75). Subs (all used).
- Booking: Hanley (foul on Matondo, 69)
- Goals: Pukki (13), Leitner (60)