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Schalke 04

Reflecting on an exciting first half of the German Bundesliga season

The ESPN FC crew discuss Borussia Dortmund's domestic struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen, finishing 2014 joint-bottom with Freiburg in the Bundesliga.

"2014 was a year that made all our wishes come true," said German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach this week. But the World Cup party from Germany's win this summer couldn't go on forever, of course. Domestically, the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign brought more trouble than festive cheer for all but a handful of clubs.

These were the main storylines of the typically eventful, unpredictable first half of the season after "that night in Rio."

1. Borussia Dortmund come off the rails

No other place to begin...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ghana leave out Michael Essien, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari

Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien will not feature for Ghana at the African Nations Cup.

New Ghana boss Avram Grant has named his provisional 31-man squad for the African Nations Cup, and Michael Essien, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari have all missed out.

AC Milan midfielder Essien, 32, had been expected to make the squad but Grant, who managed the player at Chelsea, has opted against taking him to Equatorial Guinea for the tournament, which runs from Jan. 17 to Feb. 8.

Schalke's Boateng and Milan's Muntari, who were both handed indefinite suspensions after the 2014 World Cup,...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar commits future to Schalke

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has proved prolific for Schalke.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has signed a contract extension at Schalke until 2017 with the option for a further year.

The Netherlands international was due to be a free agent at the end of the season and sporting director Horst Heldt had recently confirmed there had been interest in his services from rival clubs...

By ESPN Staff
7 days ago

Di Matteo weary of Hamburg defence

Schalke manager Roberto Di Matteo says it will not be easy to score against a Hamburg side that has the fourth best defence in the Bundesliga.


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Sluggish Schalke held by Hamburg

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Hamburg SVHamburg SV
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Schalke went two consecutive home games without a win to end 2014 on a sorry note with a goalless draw at home to Hamburg.

On the day the Gelsenkirchen club announced the contract extension of striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Roberto Di Matteo's men lacked inspiration up front and had to defend stoutly to hold on to a point against the strugglers.

Hamburg had the better chances to win it in the second half, but will nevertheless be pleased with the point which keeps them above the bottom three going into...