Schalke played hosts to Borussia Mönchengladbach in Wednesday’s DFB Pokal action, a simple case of roles reversed after Gladbach hosted Schalke on Sunday. That match finished with Gladbach as 3-1 winners, Schalke were out to make sure that didn’t happen this time around.
The game started at a great tempo and there were a few early chances that arrived in favour of Schalke. Firstly a corner was delivered in early in the game in and Sead Kolašinac managed to get his head on the cross, Yann Sommer however matched it to save.
Sommer saved once again soon after as Franco Di Santo went through on goal, the ball did leap up over the Swiss keeper, nevertheless he react quickly to regain possession. Schalke did create more chances, however on more than one occasion their players drifted offside to halt some promising attacks.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had a handful of chances in the the first half and the closest he came to scoring was just before the half hour mark. A cross in picked him out twelve yards from goal and his header saw Sommer rooted to the spot, unfortunately for the Dutch striker the post denied him.
Moments after that missed header from Huntelaar, Max Meyer had one of his own. At the back post the youngster surprisingly leapt about his marker and Sommer was only just able to claw the ball away as it headed for the top corner.
Surprisingly Schalke weren’t ahead and after the half hour mark they would’ve been behind had it not been for Michael Gspurning. Ibrahima Traoré played a beautiful ball through to Lars Stindl and unluckily for the in-form midfielder Gspurning raced off his line to claim the ball.
Schalke responded to that slight scare and Júnior Caiçara slipped the ball through to Di Santo, the Argentine’s effort could’ve been better, nevertheless Sommer still had to be at his best to stand tall before pouncing on the low effort.
Despite all of their chances and some inspired goalkeeping from Sommer, the hosts found themselves going behind before the break. Joel Matip had the ball on the halfway line, sadly for Schalke as he’s gone to pass the ball back to Gspurning he’s slipped. This allowed Stindl to pounce and after dodging a tackle from Benedikt Höwedes he comfortable cruised towards goal and nicely tucked the ball past Gspurning.
Schalke tried to get themselves level before half time and the closest they came was from a freekick, a lovely delivery in found Matip and the defender came close to redeeming himself as his header flew just wide.
The second half started more calmly than the first half, however seven minutes into the half Gladbach were given a penalty. Traoré over hit a pass through to Stindl and Gspurning made the rash decision to come out and ultimately brought down Stindl as he knocked it passed. Thorgan Hazard was the man that steeped up to the challenge and the midfielder who had a quite first half buried his spot kick to the left and doubled Gladbach’s lead.
There was almost a third goal for the away side a couple of minutes later as Traoré burst forward defenders continued to back off, so it was no surprise he took the invitation to shoot and the effort agonisingly curled just wide of the post.
Schalke looked disheartened after the second goal and after the hour mark they almost fell further behind. Håvard Nordtveit broke from the right and after getting to the byline he fired the ball across the goal, unfortunately Hazard failed to get enough on the ball with his attempted flick.
Gspurning was called into action again when Hazard tried his luck from range, it was a quality effort but the keeper should’ve easily caught the ball, luckily for Gladbach he chose to parry the shot out for a corner.
Schalke failed to show much fight in the latter stages and once more they turned to youngster Leroy Sané. The forward produced a dazzling late on and disappointingly for Schalke’s fans his cut back could only see two quality blocks from Gladbach defenders to deny his team mates.
That was the last bit of action in the game and once more Schalke tasted defeat at the hands of Gladbach. The home side were the better side in the first half, but were punished for missing their chances. In the second half Gladbach quickly extended their lead to dishearten their hosts before going on to dominate the second half.
Gladbach travel to Hertha BSC on Saturday as they look to make it six league wins in a row. For Schalke they’ll look to bounce back and give their home fans something to cheer for as they face a stubborn Ingolstadt side.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.