Bülter on the spot as Schalke escape relegation zone
Schalke climbed out of the relegation zone in the most dramatic circumstances as a 102nd minute penalty from Marius Bülter earned a sensational 3-2 win over Mainz. A third victory in four matches leapfrogged Thomas Reis’ men over three of their relegation rivals while denting Mainz’s European ambitions in the process.
It was a back and forth affair from the off, as the raucous crowd inside in MEWA Arena was treated to some high energy football. The home fans were stunned just before the half-hour mark however, as the in-form Bülter slotted home Schalke’s opener from the edge of the box in style to snatch the lead for the visitors. Die Nullfünfer clawed their way back into the match in the final 15 minutes of the half, but struggled to break down a unified Schalke rearguard that were hell-bent on protecting their lead.
Mainz finally found their equaliser after the restart, as Leandro Barreiro darted into the back post to tap home a flicked header from a corner kick. The home crowd’s celebrations did not last long however, as Schalke reclaimed their lead on the stroke of the hour mark thanks to Tom Krauß, who finished off a superb one-two with Kenan Karaman from close range. The twists would not stop there, as Aarón Caricol fired home a fantastic free-kick from 25 yards to beat Alexander Schwolow and restore parity with just 20 minutes remaining in this topsy-turvy affair.
The drama would last until the very last minute, as Schalke were awarded a penalty-kick in the 101st minute of this ding-dong affair, as a VAR review revealed Bülter was taken down in the box deep into stoppage time. The subsequent spot-kick was dispatched with aplomb by Schalke’s new hero, as Bülter snatched all three points for the Königsblauen to pull them out of the bottom three with just three rounds of the Bundesliga season remaining.