Michael Gregoritsch notched a goal and an assist on his debut and Suat Serdar became Schalke's top scorer as they saw off Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 in the Matchday 18 opener on Friday.
Schalke 2-0 Gladbach
Goals: 1-0 Serdar (48'), 2-0 Gregoritsch (58')
Bundesliga duties resumed with a cracker as second-placed Gladbach headed to fifth-placed Schalke on Friday. Neither side showed signs of needing time to warm up after the winter break and the hosts quickly eased into the form that saw them turn the mid-season corner three games unbeaten. It was David Wagner’s side - who were without Weston McKennie but handed a debut to January signing Gregortisch - that seized the initiative and Benito Raman could’ve handed them the lead but was denied superbly by Gladbach captain Yann Sommer. Marcus Thuram had a header cleared off the line at the other end of the pitch in an eventful half, where both were unable to break the deadlock.
Marco Rose's outfit came out for the second half knowing they could move top of the league - for the time being, at least - with victory, but Schalke pressed home their initial dominance almost immediately. Serdar bent home a sublime opener just three minutes into the second period with a delightful seventh goal of the campaign. And they doubled their lead shortly after as Gregoritsch marked his debut for the side by finishing off a sublime team move, laid on by Raman to stroke home the Royal Blues' second of the night. Schalke were in control for the remainder, securing a victory that moves them to within two points of the Foals.
- Schalke have 33 points on the board. It took them until Matchday 31 of 34 to reach 30 last season.
- The Royal Blues are unbeaten in their last nine Bundesliga matches on home soil. They have won five and drawn four since losing their first game of 2019/20 at the Veltins-Arena to Bayern on Matchday 2.
- Serdar is now Schalke's top scorer with seven Bundesliga goals.
- Gladbach conceded for the first time since keeping clean sheets in their previous two games, but are still the second-meanest defence (19 conceded) in the league behind Wolfsburg (18).
- The Foals have not won away in the league since beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on 2 November, 2019.
- And they have now gone two league games without scoring after enjoying their best first half of a season for 43 years (35 points). When they last won the title in 1976/77, the Foals had 39 points at the halfway stage.
Watch: Benito Raman discusses Michael Gregoritsch's impact
Schalke: Schubert – Kenny, Kabak, Nastasic, Oczipka – Mascarell (c), Serdar (Boujellab 75') – Caligiuri, Gregoritsch (Burgstaller 90'), Schöpf – Raman (Kutucu 69')
Unused subs: Langer, Todibo, Becker, Miranda, Mercan
Out: Nübel (suspended), Sane (knee), Harit (thigh), McKennie (dislocated shoulder), Stambouli (fractured metatarsal)
Coach: David Wagner
Gladbach: Sommer (c) – Lainer, Ginter, Jantschke (Strobl 85'), Wendt – Herrmann (Neuhaus 59'), Zakaria, Hoffmann – Embolo (Stindl 72') – Plea, Thuram
Unused subs: Sippel, Kramer, Raffael, Traore, Johnson, Benes
Out: Bensebaini (muscular), Bennetts (knock), Elvedi (back)
Coach: Marco Rose