Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 extended their unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to four matches with a 3-0 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday evening.
Matip heavily involved
Jefferson Farfan scored his first ever Bundesliga brace to help the Royal Blues on their way to a victory which was sealed by a Jermaine Jones cracker.
Only 90 seconds had been played when Joel Matip had the referee fishing into his top pocket to extract a yellow card, an incident which left the Schalke defender walking a tightrope. As such, he dared not stick a foot in to prevent Timo Werner from bearing down on Ralf Fährmann half an hour in and the Cameroonian defender was therefore a relieved man to see Stuttgart's 17-year-old shoot just a matter of millimetres wide of the left-hand post.
Matip had already tried to rectify his earlier blemish by heading a corner against the crossbar before Adam Szalai sent another header wide from close range with the Royal Blues building up a head of steam. Stuttgart then got their foot on the ball, leading to Alexandru Maxim setting up Werner's chance, while the Schalke backline found themselves increasingly involved.
Farfan at the double
However, Kevin-Prince Boateng's battling qualities forced a mistake from the visitors, which led to the ball reaching Julian Draxler. The neatest of touches from the Germany midfielder shifted the ball wide to Farfan, whose shot from an angle was slowed down by Sven Ulreich's right arm, but not enough to prevent it from nestling in the far cornerof the net. It may have come against the run of play, but it lifted the hosts.
Just 47 seconds were on the clock in the second period when Draxler was caught from behind by Christian Gentner as he was trying to turn just inside the penalty area. The referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Farfan was equally decisive in sending Ulreich the wrong way for his first ever Bundesliga brace, on his 151st appearance in the German top flight.
Jones crowns victory
Stuttgart tried a reaction of sorts, but Schalke were now well and truly in command of the encounter. A low shot from Ibrahima Traore lacked power and direction, typifying a toothless Stuttgart attack which, after falling behind, lacked any evident potency to worry Fährmann. At the other end of the field, Schalke started to show the strain after the midweek trip to Bucharest, apparently slipping down a gear.
One Schalke player still clearly felt he had a point to prove, though, and that was Jones. There appeared to be little danger after his poor first touch a full 25 yards out, but the USA international made amends with his second, unleashing an unstoppable half-volley that left Ulreich no chance. Schalke had the ball in the back of the net again when Max Meyer converted after Boateng's effort came back off the post, but the offside flag saved Stuttgart from further sorrow.
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