Five Great Christian Schäfer Moments
A Look Back At Some Memorable Fixtures Which Involved Christian Schäfer
Christian Schäfer, 'Der Professor', has recently resigned from his role as Real Madrid manager. The German-born manager has had an illustrious career to date, signing off from his roles at Dynamo Dresden, Brazil and Real Madrid with major trophy victories, and we now take a look back at five of Schäfer's most memorable games.
Dynamo Dresden 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen (12/04/2020)
In Dynamo Dresden's third season in the Bundesliga under Christian Schäfer, they had mounted a serious title challenge. With a small number of games remaining, Schäfer's team was locked in battle with Bayer Leverkusen for the top spot, and the two sides faced each other in mid-April. A victory would put the winning side firmly in the driving seat in the Bundesliga, and neither side could afford to lose.
While Bayer Leverkusen dominated possession, it was Schäfer's Dynamo Dresden side who ruled the game. Boasting 19 shots to Leverkusen's 2, Dynamo's high-pressing counter attack system cut the visitors apart, and an early Bernardo Silva goal set the tone. The Portuguese attacking midfielder cut in from the right before curling a low effort beyond the goalkeeper, Bernd Leno.
Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo added Dynamo Dresden's second goal of the game in the first half with a thunderous effort from just inside the box. The chance came from an intricate pass by playmaker Aias Aosman, which bamboozled the Leverkusen defence, and left Dynamo's star striker with just the goalkeeper to beat, and he did so with aplomb.
Leverkusen were beat, and they were unable to post a single shot on target in the full ninety minutes. But, Dynamo were not done yet. Veteran midfielder Eugen Polanski scored a cracking volley from the edge of the area to add to Leverkusen's woes, and his goal certainly put Dynamo in the ascendance in the title race, which they ultimately claimed victory in. This game was certainly a major turning point, and Schäfer's team made a real statement to those involved in German football.
Manchester City 1-2 Real Madrid (01/06/2024)
In what proved to be Christian Schäfer's final game as Real Madrid manager, his Los Blancos
side faced Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley. Schäfer faced a major selection dilemma with captain Cristiano Ronaldo, vice-captain James Rodríguez, third-captain Raphaël Varane and star striker Anthony Martial all sitting out due to injury. This prompted Schäfer to set up a 4-6-0 formation, with an attacking midfield of Isco, Alessandro Florenzi and Mateo Kovacic looking to produce the goods in front of goal.
Stand-in captain Isco certainly proved his worth, scoring the game's opening goal within the first two minutes. The Spaniard latched on to Toni Kroos' long ball before leaving City defender Chidiebere Nwakali in a heap and picking out the top corner of the goal with a fantastic effort. His goal sent the Real Madrid fans in to high-heaven, and put his side in the ascendancy.
The Spaniard's night was far from over, and he was called in to penalty-taking action in the second half. Spanish full-back Alberto Moreno made a surging run in to the box but was brought down by Nwakali, who was having an abysmal game in truth, and a penalty was awarded to Los Blancos
. Isco stepped up, and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to double his side's lead.
Manchester City pulled one back through José Ramón García, but it was too little too late as Christian Schäfer's side deservedly laid their hands on the UEFA Champions League trophy, for the thirteenth time in the club's history, and for the second time in Schäfer's.
Real Madrid 7-0 Barcelona (18/08/2023)
Christian Schäfer's home debut as Real Madrid manager proved to be more than memorable, as his side lined up against arch rivals FC Barcelona in the Supercopa de España. Schäfer was looking to add a second trophy to the season following victory in the UEFA Super Cup over Leicester City, and there was no better opponent to defeat in the process than the Catalan giants.
To say the game was one-sided would be an unbearable under-statement, as Real Madrid completely blew the visitors away. Mateo Kovacic got on the end of a quick, counter-attacking move to sweep the ball in to the back of the net with less than four minutes on the clock. Anthony Martial doubled the lead with a bullet of a strike, and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty gave Real Madrid their third before fifteen minutes had been played.
Anthony Martial proved to be the hero of the day, and he scored his second of the game before the half-hour mark. The Frenchman claimed his hat-trick early in the second half, and he added a fourth with twelve minutes remaining. James Rodríguez rounded off proceedings with a superb free-kick in stoppage time, and Real Madrid had made a true statement as they defeated their closest rivals by a demolishing score line.
Brazil 2-1 Argentina, AET (08/07/2023)
Without a trophy in sixteen years, since 2007, Brazil were looking to reassert themselves on the international stage when they entered the 2023 Copa América in Ecuador. Schäfer's side battled their way to the final where a familiar opponent in Argentina stood in their path. Sporting an unorthodox 3-4-2-1 formation, Schäfer's men looked to dismantle his side's greatest opposition.
The game was filled to the brim with goalmouth action, with the two sides registering 44 shots between them. Both goalkeepers were called upon several times throughout the tie, but it was Brazil who got the breakthrough in the first half. Intricate football ended with midfielder Mosca free with the ball in the box, and he scored with a low effort to give his side the lead in the final.
Argentina refused to stand down, however, and they looked to force an equaliser throughout the entire second half. Striker Christian Pavón eventually produced the goods, initially scuffing his shot off the crossbar, but the ball fell kindly for him to slot home a goal which took the game to extra time.
Both teams gave it their all throughout the extra thirty minutes, but it was Schäfer's men who would come out victorious. Some skillful football from Coutinho and Neymar saw the latter squeeze through the defence, but his rasping effort was palmed away by the goalkeeper. However, the ball fell to substitute Cebolinha, who prodded his shot in to the back of the empty net to claim victory in the Copa América for Brazil. Schäfer had done it again!
FC Schalke 0-1 Dynamo Dresden (28/05/2022)
It was Christian Schäfer's first taste of a UEFA Champions League final, and it came against domestic rivals FC Schalke 04. The game was contested at the Amsterdam ArenA, and a feisty affair was expected. Both clubs had battled it out for the league title that season, with Dynamo coming out on top, and Rangnick's Schalke side were looking to take revenge on the European stage.
Dynamo had the first real opportunity of the game as Leon Goretzka picked out striker Kenedy in the box and the Brazilian seemed to have just the goalkeeper to beat as he settled to shoot, but his resulting effort was blocked by the outstretched leg of Victor Lindelöf. Kenedy was not done there, as he nearly made amends with minutes remaining in the first half. Geoffrey Kondogbia charged forward in to the final third and slid in the Brazilian, but his shot was saved by the onrushing Loris Karius, who produced a wonderful performance in the Schalke goal.
The second half turned in to an aggressive game, as both sides became frustrated with the scoreline. Dynamo's Geoffrey Kondogbia received a second yellow after 62 minutes, leaving his side with ten men. Balance was restored fifteen minutes later as Schalke midfielder Renato Sanches also received his marching orders for a slide tackle from behind on Kenedy.
With just twenty men on the pitch, the game was poised to head in to extra time. That was, of course, until Kenedy left his mark on the game. A rare foray forward for Dynamo's Serbian full-back Aleksander Pantic gifted them with a priceless opportunity to score. Leon Goretzka picked out the defender with a tremendous pass, and Pantic deliver a low cross from the right wing which was turned past Karius by Kenedy. With 89 minutes on the clock, Dynamo Dresden had taken the lead.
Schalke threw the kitchen sink at Dynamo, but Schäfer's men would not crack. Their defensive ability shone as they continued to recover the ball and use Kenedy as an outlet to run down the clock. Schalke's frustrations grew, and striker Maximiliano Romero was given his marching orders in stoppage time for a second booking. The clock was run down, and Christian Schäfer's Dynamo Dresden were eventually named as champions of Europe. This was the first time for both club and manager to lift the trophy, and it gave Schäfer continental recognition for the very first time.
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