Schalke gets bitch-slapped by the Basques, and Hannover loses in Madrid. More details to follow shortly…
Schalke was the stronger team in the 1st half, but Bilbao’s attacks were very efficient and dangerous. Llorente poked home after GK Timo Hildebrand had a Butterfinger. But the Blues were equal only a couple of minutes later as Raul managed to force the ball in. Despite some sustained pressure, Schalke was unable to get another before half. In the 2nd period, Schalke was pressured, as Bilbao attempted to break through against the 4th string keeper Mattias Schober (Hildebrand came off due to “injury” at half). However, they withstood the run, and then turned on their own juice. They were quickly rewarded with another Raul goal. Now was the chance to press home, and they almost came to a 3rd. But then inexplicably, they seemed to take a foot off the gas. The Basques sensed that Schalke was wussified, and struck viciously to basically end this tie. The Schalkers will rue all their wasted chances.
Hannover did much better, although it started as a disaster. Atletico was all over the 96ers, and it looked like a rout was in the making. But the Spaniards wasted their chances, and gradually Hannover began to fight back, with in form Diouf scoring. The 96ers then withstood Atletico’s pressure until the end, but still remain in a decent position to advance.
Schalke 04 - Athletic Bilbao 2:4 (1:1) 53,883 0:1 F. Llorente (20., Ander) 1:1 Raul (22., Uchida) 2:1 Raul (59.) 2:2 F. Llorente (73., Ibai) 2:3 de Marcos (81., M. Susaeta) 2:4 Iker Muniain (90. + 3, M. Susaeta) Atletico Madrid - Hannover 96 2:1 (1:1) 29,000 1:0 Falcao (9., Gabi) 1:1 M. Diouf (38., Stindl) 2:1 Salvio (89.)