Schalke wins group, draws Montpellier
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FIXTURES
|Tuesday, December 4|
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Both Schalke and the Gunners had already qualified for the knockout stages, but with top spot and a potentially easier draw to play for, the Bundesliga side were in no way inclined to show mercy to Montpellier, who only had pride to play for.
The French Ligue 1 champions were going in search of a consolatory first win in the competition, but it was not to be, as despite two goals in quick succession after the break, neither side could find the final advantage.
Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes saw his opening goal cancelled out in just three minutes by Emanuel Herrera in a frantic start to the second half.
It came after neither side were able to conjure any magic in a first half with few opportunities.
Marco Estrada went close for the home side in only the second minute from an inswinging corner, but Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler made a good clearance to neutralise the early threat.
Estrada again tested the Bundesliga side's defense a few minutes later with another testing ball in but they held firm, with Montpellier striker Souleymane Camara doing little to worry them when his 18-yard header flew over the bar soon after.
Schalke's best chance in the half came five minutes before the break when Tranquillo Barnetta's corner picked out Roman Neustadter in the middle of the area, but the midfielder could only put the ball over the bar.
The second period was a different story, however, with both sides finding the net in quick succession.
First, Howedes put Schalke in front with a close-range header in the 56th minute but the lead was shortlived as Herrera levelled for Montpellier three minutes later. The striker's header was blocked by Christoph Metzelder but he followed up to finish from six yards.
Schalke keeper Timo Hildebrand then saved Remy Cabella's strike as the match went up a gear, but neither side was able to regain the advantage, with Herrera's 89th-minute blocked shot the closest anyone came to snatching the win.