Schalke: 3 bright spots from 0-0 draw with Mainz

Jean-Clair Todibo of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Jean-Clair Todibo of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 failed to create sufficient chances – let alone take them – in a goalless draw with Mainz 05 on Sunday. Even so, there were three bright spots from the match.

The Royal Blues traveled to the Coface Arena on Matchday 22, expecting to pick up all three points. However, they drew for the third straight time in the Bundesliga against inferior competition, as this result mirrored FC Schalke 04’s 0-0 draw to Hertha Berlin and their 1-1 draw with SC Paderborn 07 last week.

It was a disappointing result for Schalke that felt more like a loss than a draw, as it represented two more points dropped in the Champions League race. After the goalless match, the Royal Blues now sit four points behind fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen and six points behind Borussia Mönchengladbach for a Champions League position.

Still, not everything from this 0-0 result was bad. Here were the three biggest bright spots for Die Knappen on Matchday 22.

CB Jean-Clair Todibo

Jean-Clair Todibo has played more than 50 minutes in each of the past two Bundesliga contests, and he looks exactly like the caliber of player Schalke should be buying permanently from FC Barcelona when the 2019-2020 season ends. Barca have the last say, of course, but buying Todibo back from the Royal Blues would be costly.

He was excellent against Mainz, completing 87.3% of his passes, per A versatile player who works hard all over the pitch, Todibo aggressively took the battle to Mainz, playing alongside the more measured Matija Nastasic. He had three tackles, five clearances, and a whopping four interceptions in an incredible defensive display.

Todibo and Ozan Kabak are future superstars at the center back position, and Schalke should do what they can to hold onto Todibo permanently. His quality is obvious.

CM Weston McKennie

My colleague Josh Sippie handed Weston McKennie Man of the Match honors for the second straight week, and it’s hard to disagree with him. McKennie looks like a must-start over Daniel Caligiuri once the latter returns from his unfortunate injury, as McKennie simply offers more on both ends of the pitch. He’s active, relentless, and intelligent, showing more drive and overall quality in the final third with the consistency of his passing.

Although McKennie didn’t light up the stat sheet quite like Todibo, he put in a real shift. The statistics don’t often do justice to McKennie, whose work rate makes everyone around him better. It’s too bad few players in the midfield and attack stepped up around him, as the likes of Benito Raman and Amine Harit had rare off days.

Once Suat Serdar returns from his injury, he and McKennie could be unstoppable together in front of Omar Mascarell.

LB Bastian Oczipka

Finally, we have to praise Bastian Oczipka yet again, because the veteran left back continues to consistently put in great performances, even when the rest of his team falters. Oczipka is the only real outlet on the flanks right now, and that also went for the right side of the pitch even with Jonjoe Kenny back; the Everton loanee still isn’t 100 percent.

Oczipka was the only player making dangerous passes on Matchday 22, leading the way with three key passes. Only superstar centerbacks Kabak and Todibo completed a higher percentage of their passes than Oczipka, who had to make more difficult pass attempts as the main creative impetus with Harit hot-and-cold.

Next. Schalke vs. Mainz Player Ratings. dark

The 31-year-old had three accurate crosses, four clearances, and a team-high four tackles. By most measured, he was the best player on the pitch for Schalke and deserved to get more than a point out of his stellar performance.