Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04's stuttering run continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
Hosts on top
The hosts dominated possession for the vast majority of the game, only to fall behind against the run of play when Igor de Camargo poached a goal for Gladbach. With the minutes ticking away at the end, Julian Draxler finally salvaged the Gelsenkirchen outfit a point however with a close-range finish.
Having only taken one point from their last three games, Schalke began desperate put their recent poor form to rights and went straight on the attack. They had joy early on down the right flank, with Jefferson Farfan and Atsuto Uchida combining well and putting several teasing crosses into the box. However, their first clear sight of goal came courtesy of Draxler on the opposite wing, who found Lewis Holtby with a smart cutback, only for the midfielder to fire over.
The visitors struggled to piece together any moves, although they did threaten to go ahead when Patrick Herrmann latched on to a long ball over the top and bore down on Timo Hildebrand's goal. The nimble winger's touch let him down though, and the Schalke shot-stopper was able to collect comfortably.
With Gladbach retreating deeper, the Royal Blues tried their luck from distance, with Huntelaar, Draxler and Holtby all putting Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the test. As the first half drew to a close, Schalke appeared resigned to the fact that they would not get through and went into energy conservation mode, a state of affairs which an unusually passive Gladbach were all too happy to accept.
There was little change in tactics after the restart, although the hosts did go about the task of finding a way through their guests' defence with renewed vigour. Farfan was again at the heart of Schalke's attacks, but twice wasted good positions by delaying his shot. Gladbach were by no means perturbed by the relentless pressure and their organised backline stood solid, with hopeful punts forward in search of de Camargo their only respite.
Yet out of the blue, de Camargo gave the visitors the lead. Thorben Marx intercepted Joel Matip's sloppy ball out of defence and played a first-time pass into the path of de Camargo, who toe-poked the ball past Hildebrand. With his side visibly shell-shocked, Schalke coach Huub Stevens made the bold move of replacing Huntelaar and Holtby in attack, bringing on Teemu Pukki and Cirprian Marica in their stead.
The change almost paid instant dividends when a swift combination of passes culminated in Christian Fuch's cross from the left, which Jermaine Jones met full on, but could only direct his header straight at ter-Stegen. The USA international blasted over from close range moments later, before Draxler rescued a deserved point for the hosts when he tapped in Pukki's cross at the back post.
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