Huub Stevens' men will face the task of overcoming a one-goal deficit in the return leg in Gelsenkirchen after narrowly losing in the NetherlandsTwente managed to edge Schalke 1-0 at De Grolsch Veste in Enschede in the first leg of their round of 16 tie in the Europa League on Thursday.
After an uneventful first half, the game exploded into life on the hour mark, when Luuk De Jong fell into the box, earning Joel Matip a red card, and winning a penalty for his team. The attacker ruthlessly converted to net the one and only goal of the match.
After a shaky start Steve McClaren's men began to take the upper hand and gradually began creating chances. Nacer Chadli was the first to seriously test Timo Hildebrand as he saw a free header from the centre of the box easily claimed by the former Valencia man.
The Royal Blues were struggling to get out of their own half, and looked unable to create opportunities in the opening 20 minutes. This soon changed, however, as before the half-hour mark a pass by Jermaine Jones released Chinedu Obasi, but the Nigerian could only blast over the bar from close range.
Twente responded almost immediately through Chadli, who found himself on the end of a cross by Ola John. He easily skipped past Christian Fuchs before centering the ball, but the Belgium international could not connect well, and his finish hit the side-netting.
Schalke managed to recover from their slow start and gradually began to impose themselves. The Royal Blues were exclusively using the flanks to build their attacks with Fuchs and Atsuto Uchida bombing forward from defence.
Huub Stevens' men were a threat from central areas as well, however, as in the 43rd minute Ciprian Marica put an unfitting end to a fine team move involving Jones and Lewis Holty, blasting wide from just outside the box.
The German side continued to be the better team after the break, but a dubious decision by the referee suddenly turned the game on its head. On the hour mark De Jong broke free of Schalke's defence, but was chased down by Joel Matip, before falling on the ground.
The referee decided to show the versatile defender a red card and award a penalty to Schalke, much to the dismay of Huub Stevens' men. De Jong stepped up, and duly converted to the left, just below the bar, to give the hosts the lead.
Schalke defended valiantly for the rest of the game with 10 men, and in the end managed to prevent Twente from scoring another goal. Steve McClaren's men had their chances to net through Chadli and Leroy Fer, but their finishing ultimately let them down.
The Royal Blues face the task of overcoming their one-goal deficit, when they host Twente for the second leg in a week's time at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkrichen.