Galatasaray torpedo Schalke’s CL dreams

Schalke 04's Champions League ambitions ended in spectacular fashion on Tuesday as a last-minute goal from Turkey forward Umut Bulut sealed a 3-2 defeat to Galatasaray that put the Turkish side into the quarter-finals.

Galatasaray torpedo Schalke's CL dreams
Photo: DPA

With the German defence at full stretch and time almost up, Bulut provided the killer blow with the 95th-minute second-leg winner which put Schalke out of the competition with a 3-4 aggregate loss over the two legs of the last 16 tie.

The German side failed in its bid to join Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.

With some 10,000 Galatasaray fans among the 54,142 strong crowd, in part due to Gelsenkirchen’s sizeable Turkish community, the first-half was a breathtaking affair as control slipped from the host’s grip and into that of the Turkish side.

Midfielder Roman Neustädter gave the German side an early lead in the 17th minute, when the ball fell to him after captain Benedikt Höwedes’s header was blocked and he fired past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

The advantage lasted 20 minutes as Galatasaray got back on level terms when a short free-kick caught the hosts cold and Altintop planted an unstoppable shot which clipped the post as it flew in, just out of Hildebrand’s reach.

The Turkish league leaders then went 3-2 ahead on aggregate in the 42nd minute from an innocuous situation when left-back Albert Riera slid in to dispossess Marco Höger in the Schalke half.

The ball flew over the home defence and into the path of Yilmaz, who bolted onto the loose ball, held off Höwedes and lobbed Hildebrand to put Galatasaray ahead.

The Royal Blues took the game by the scruff of the neck with Finland striker Teemu Pukki, in for injured Dutch star Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, going close, while Julian Draxler, 19, also tested Muslera.

Schalke equalised when Muslera’s save fell to Japan right-back Atsuto Uchida who slid a pass out to Michel Bastos, who fired home from close range to give his team a lifeline.

Both sides had their chances to settle the matter as Pukki, with the ball as his feet, forced Muslera into a great save, as did Bastos, while at the other end Hildebrand was called into action to deny Nordin Amrabat.

But when Schalke were caught out by a late counter-attack, it was Bulut who rounded Hildebrand to knock the hosts out.

“We are all very disappointed,” said Schalke goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand. “We made a mistake for their first goal (by Altintop), the sort you can’t afford in the Champions League and we were punished straight away.”

Having scored Galatasaray’s first goal with a beautifully stuck long-range shot, Altintop, the ex-Schalke midfielder who was born in Gelsenkirchen, asked for the home fans’ forgiveness.

“I learnt to play football here, I started my career here and a part of me is still Schalke, I hope the fans can forgive my celebration,” said Altintop, who left the Royal Blues in 2007 after a four year stay.


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British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.