Schalke 04 spurned the chance to climb to the top of the Bundesliga table on Sunday after slipping to a surprise defeat to TSG Hoffenheim. Benjamin Stambouli spoke to Soccer Laduma following the match to share his thoughts on the outcome and on his club's preparation for next weekend's Revierderby against Borussia Dortmund.
The Royal Blues sat just two points behind league leaders Borussia Monchengladbach heading into Sunday's Bundesliga clash and were favourites against a Hoffenheim side that had won just twice in their opening seven matches of the season.
Things nearly got off to the perfect start for David Wagner's men when Daniel Caligiuri's free-kick beat Oliver Baumann in goal in the third minute, only to rattle against the top corner of the post. Both sides had further opportunities to open the scoring but ultimately saw the first half draw to a close with the scorers untroubled.
Schalke came out with intent in the second half, but an inspired performance by Hoffenheim substitute Ihlas Bebou turned the tie on its head. The Togolese international replaced Dennis Geiger at the start of the half and had a hand in both of his side's goals, creating the first and slotting the second home himself to secure a 2-0 win.
Former France international Benjamin Stambouli spoke to Soccer Laduma after the match and revealed that Schalke's attacking intent in the second half had ultimately proved to be their downfall on the night.
"I think we managed the game well in the first half," Stambouli said.
"In the second half we felt like, 'Okay, we have to win this game', and we tried to play more and more risky, but then you expose yourself to the counter. You know, if you don't make a good choices in front (of goal), then you have to pay something in moments like these.
"But it's part of the game and I think we can learn something from it and everything will be alright."
Schalke's next league fixture is against fierce rivals Dortmund but the former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain star believes Sunday's result will have no impact on the club's preparations for the derby encounter.
"It's my fourth year with Schalke and there is no 'good way' to prepare for the derby," Stambouli added.
"The derby is the derby, you can win before, you can lose before or you can draw (it doesn't matter). We know that we are going to be ready on the day that we have to be.
"Every year is like this, it's a big game. It doesn't matter what happened before because we're going to fight until the end."
Schalke currently sit seventh in the Bundesliga table, just two points off top spot, while Hoffenheim have climbed to 11th place following their victory.
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