The Bundesliga’s last match of the weekend featured a Borussia Mönchengladbach side on the rise and after five losses they’ve turned things around and were looking for their fifth straight win. The visiting side were the youngster’s of Schalke, they’ve surprised many as they’ve performed better than expected and find themselves in fourth ahead of this match.
It was almost the perfect start for Gladbach as in the third minute they had the ball in the back of the net. Granit Xhaka broke free and charged to the byline before cutting the ball back to Lars Stindl. The midfielder converted but the goal was disallowed as the ball went just out of play as Xhaka pulled the ball back. The home side felt it stayed in, however it was a brilliant decision from the linesman.
Some lovely play down the left from Raffael and Fabian Johnson saw the American’s cross roll to Julian Korb on the edge of the area and the right back fired a great effort on goal which saw Ralf Fährmann produce an outstanding save.
On the half hour mark the host’s were awarded a penalty as Dennis Aogo brought down Korb just inside the area. It was a soft penalty to be given and Schalke weren’t happy one bit. Stindl stepped up for the spot kick and he struck it poorly as Fährmann saved to his left, sadly for the keeper his work was quickly undone as Stindl won the header against Benedikt Höwedes on the rebound and it crept in.
The host’s came close to doubling their lead before the break as Ibrahima Traoré’s freekick saw Andreas Christensen break free and despite his sliding effort he couldn’t direct the ball home and he directed it just wide of the post.
Against the run of play Schalke were level going into the break. Korb was guilty of getting out slowly from the corner and Leroy Sané headed the ball back into the box to the free Max Meyer and he whipped the ball across goal for Christensen to unluckily knock the ball into his own net with two Schalke player’s waiting behind him.
Early in the second half Sané broke through on goal, unfortunately for Schalke he couldn’t keep the ball under control and it slowed the attack down which allowed Oscar Wendt to get back and make an important tackle.
Shortly after Schalke went close as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg controlled a cross from Sascha Riether with his chest and fired a good effort at goal, Yann Sommer was just able to palm the ball away for a corner. From the resulting corner Højbjerg produced a lovely flick at the near post that caused problems in the goal mouth before Gladbach cleared.
The home side almost grabbed a second goal from a corner, it was a good delivery into the area and Stindl leapt well to head towards goal, Fährmann was beaten but luckily for the keeper Riether was on the line to stop the shot with his chest. Gladbach felt it was handball, however the officials were spot on with their decision as the ball did strike his chest.
Gladbach regained the lead twenty minutes from time, Traore was fouled on the edge of the area much to the disgust of Joel Matip, which was understandable as it was a soft freekick to give. Raffael stepped up to take the freekick and he struck it brilliantly as he got it over the wall and straight into the top left corner, Fährmann had no chance as the ball flew in well out of his reach.
On the edge of the area the ball was played into Stindl and he excellently spun Höwedes to unleash a great effort on goal. The crowd thought it was heading in, however Fährmann was at his best again as he managed to get his fingertips to flick the shot wide.
Sané was a bright spark for Schalke throughout the second half and he almost carved up a leveller. The youngster was picked out in the area and his shot flashed across goal and wide, two team mates failed to get any contact on the effort.
With ten minutes remaining a leveller for Schalke looked like a distant dream as they were reduced to ten men. Johannes Geis and André Hahn challenged for the ball and Geis made a terrible tackle which deservedly saw him pick up a straight red. The sign’s didn’t look good for Hahn as player’s rushed over and the medic’s were quickly waved on. From the replay’s it certainly looks like the winger has broken his leg.
Gladbach soon after the sending off sealed the win with a great goal, they moved the ball from the left in fine fashion as Raffael played the ball through to Korb and the right back showed nerves of steel as he calmly fired his shot across goal and in.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the impressive Gladbach, Schalke contributed well to what was a great match and their DFB Pokal meeting on Wednesday should carry thing where they left off.
Gladbach are now up to 7th place and their next league game sees them travel away to face Hertha BSC. As for Schalke they’ll look to see off an Ingolstadt side that have been one of the season’s surprise packages.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.