Schalke 04 warmed – up for the Champions League visit of Manchester City with a goalless draw at home to fellow Bundesliga strugglers Freiburg on Saturday .
Schalke are winless in their last three Bundesliga games and sit just above the relegation places in 14th spot .
Next up is a huge challenge at home to Pep Guardiola’ s Premier League giants Man City in their Champions League last 16, first – leg tie on Wednesday.
In Saturday ’ s bad – tempered clash , both Schalke and Freiburg finished with ten men .
READ ALSO : Monfils beats Medvedev for return to Rotterdam final
The Royal Blues played for nearly 50 minutes without defensive midfielder Suat Serdar , sent off for a first – half foul , while Freiburg defender Christian Guenter was dismissed late on for a second yellow card .
Schalke came close to conceding a penalty with 10 minutes left when Spanish midfielder Omar Mascarell was suspected of a handball, but the video assistant referee (VAR ) over – ruled the referee ’ s initial decision .
Welsh teenage winger Rabbi Matondo, who Schalke signed last month from Man City , struggled to make an impact on only his second Bundesliga appearance , his first over 90 minutes .
The 18- year – old had a good chance with 16 minutes left but ballooned his shot over the bar .
Freiburg hit the Schalke woodwork twice in the second half through substitutes Jerome Gondorf and Luca Waldschmidt .
League leaders Borussia Dortmund are at bottom side Nuremberg on Monday .
They are two points ahead of Bayern Munich, who won 3 – 2 at Augsburg on Friday.
RB Leipzig took their chance to stay in the title race as a 3 – 1 win at Stuttgart left them fourth, just a point behind Borussia Moenchengladbach , who play Sunday at Eintracht Frankfurt .
Yussuf Poulsen netted two goals as Leipzig took the three points.
The Denmark striker opened the scoring after just six minutes when Leipzig ’ s Germany striker Timo Werner fired in a cross, which clipped a defender’ s knee for Poulsen to tap home .
Steven Zuber equalised from the spot for Stuttgart ten minutes later when the video assistant referee spotted the ball had hit Willi Orban’ s arm after a Mario Gomez header .
However , Leipzig rallied as midfielder Marcel Sabitzer curled home a superb free – kick with 20 minutes left , then Poulsen claimed his second goal soon after, tapping home following an impressive run by US international Tyler Adams .
Wolfsburg climbed to fifth with a 3 – 0 win at Mainz with goals by midfielder Maximilian Arnold , striker Wout Weghorst and defender Robin Knoche .
Hoffenheim also moved up after Algeria forward Ishak Belfodil , Brazilian striker Joelinton and Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay netted in their 3 – 0 win at second – from – bottom Hanover 96 to go seventh .