American teenager Matthew Hoppe becomes Schalke 04 hero

American teenager Matthew Hoppe single-handedly ended one of the most ignominious streaks in all of European soccer with a record-setting performance.

Hoppe became the first American to score a hat trick in the Bundesliga to lead Schalke 04 to a 4-0 win over Hoffenheim that ended its 30-game winless streak. The victory ended Schalke's winless streak one game short of the Bundesliga record set by Tasmania Berlin in 1965-66.

The goals were the first for Hoppe, who is in his second season at Schalke after joining the club from Barca Academy in Arizona.

Hoppe was the top scorer in 2018-19 Development Academy's U-18/19 age group with 29 goals in 20 games but had not shown the same proficiency at Schalke, scoring just three goals in 17 games with its U-19 team in 2019-20 and one goal in 16 games with its second team this season in the fourth-tier Regionalliga before his promotion to the first team.

All three goals came in a span of 21 minutes on either side of halftime on breakaways set up by Amine Harit, who scored the fourth Schalke goal. Hoppe lobbed Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann from the left side for the first goal, rounded Baumann and fired the ball into the empty net for the second goal and beat him with a nifty dink to Baumann's left for the third goal. The hat trick was the first by a Schalke player since Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in 2014.

“I don’t know how to feel," Hoppe said afterward. "I’m excited, I’m happy that the team got the win and that I was able to contribute to it. It gives some confidence, it gives some momentum. We have 19 games left and hopefully we can keep the wins coming.”

Goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann, whose shutout was the first for Schalke in 27 games, kept the Royal Blues in the game in the first half with saves on Andrej Kramaric and Diadie Samassekou.

"We had to rely on our outstanding goalkeeper, Ralf Faehrmann, in the first half," Schalke coach Christian Gross said. "He was our rock at the back, saved everything and played brilliantly for the 90 minutes. The team grew in confidence after going 1-0 up – it was a great goal by Matthew Hoppe. We managed to get another in the second half and the second goal helped secure the win. I enjoyed the fact that we played attacking football and we want to carry on like that."

The win moved Schalke out of the basement in the Bundesliga ahead of Mainz and sits in 17th place, three points behind Augsburg, which has one game in hand, and four points behind FC Cologne.
6 comments about "American teenager Matthew Hoppe becomes Schalke 04 hero".
  1. R2 Dad, January 9, 2021 at 9:47 p.m.

    Very well done! I think it was telling after the 2nd goal he ran to celebrate with Naldo, who has always been a fierce competitor and now seems to be a close advisor to MH. There is hope with Hoppe!

  2. humble 1, January 10, 2021 at 3:35 a.m.

    Nice.  Thanks for the write up.  Hoppe and Harit.  Quiet the combo.  I did not see the game, only the highlights you kindly shared.  Have not seen Hoppe play previously, but from those highlights, we'll see more from him.  Liked his diagonal 3-step acceleration, calling for the ball, and Harit, instead of drop at his feet - puts the ball in front of him perfectly just as he turns.  Sweet.  Shalke doing what they do - finding young talent and giving them a chance to shine.  Has it's ups and downs, but if those two stay healthy, they will not be easily dealth with the rest of the season.  Just coming on the boil. 

  3. beautiful game, January 10, 2021 at 9:51 a.m.

    Hoppe showed that he was in total control with his decision making process and execution. His calmness with the ball is what takes a player to the next level. 

  4. Wallace Wade, January 10, 2021 at 1:15 p.m.

    Great accomplishment for this young Lad!!!! Much wishes of success in the future! I was amused seeing Alexi Lalas trying to lay claim to his development through the DA? This player was Coached by Professional Spanish Coaches at Barcelona Academy Arizona. He was infused with Barca DNA, then shipped to Europe. Mr. Lalas and his croney's can't claim any part of this player's development. 

  5. beautiful game replied, January 10, 2021 at 6:19 p.m.

    Well put W.W. Lalas is a long-time USA soccer spinmeister for decades. His best media fit would be as a "baloney" butcher and not a wannabe soccer analyst. 

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, January 11, 2021 at 1:30 a.m.

    Hopefully the MLS clubs are paying attention to the academy's success and methods.

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