A late Søren Larsen goal gave FC Schalke 04 a narrow 1-0 home win against AS Nancy-Lorraine in a largely disappointing match in front of 45,000 fans in Gelsenkirchen.
On the offensive
Before the game, Schalke had stated that their aim was to go all the way to the UEFA Cup final in Glasgow next May and coach Mirko Slomka duly opted for an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with the suspended Mladen Krstajić missing out. Nancy’s Pablo Correa was a touch more cautious, fielding a 4-4-1-1 lineup, spearheaded by Monsef Zerka and Kim.
Schalke first showed their intent when a Kevin Kuranyi shot from just outside the area went wide after 15 minutes, but chances were few and far between as Nancy held back and made it difficult for the hosts to break them down. The German side came close to scoring just before half-time when Kuranyi headed wide from close range following a Zlatan Bajramović cross.
Into the second period and a thunderous 30-metre free-kick from Schalke defender Marcelo Bordon almost found its target but flew past the right-hand post. However, just when it seemed a fractious game was heading for a goalless draw, a Kuranyi cross found substitute Larsen in the clear and he headed home.