Mönchengladbach - Borussia Mönchengladbach continued their astonishing home form this season by recording an eighth victory in as many games to beat ten-man FC Schalke 04 2-1.
The hosts were forced to come from behind after Jefferson Farfan gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot, but a Raffael stunner soon brought parity again. Benedikt Höwedes' sending off shortly before half time all but ended Schalke's hopes of success, with Max Kruse tucking away the ensuing penalty.
Prior to this game, Gladbach had picked up the same amount of points as Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München in their previous five matches - winning all of them - so it was unsurprising when the Foals' coach Lucien Favre named an unchanged line-up for the fifth match running. Boosted by that run, the hosts began strongly and sought to impose their authority early on.
However, Schalke absorbed the pressure without ever wobbling at the back and it were the visitors who broke the deadlock first. A wonderfully free-flowing counterattack culminated with Kevin-Prince Boateng being felled in the box as he stretched to reach Farfan's teasing right-wing cross. The latter, who grabbed a brace against VfB Stuttgart last week, made no mistake from the spot and rifled the subsequent penalty past a powerless Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The Royal Blues' lead was short-lived though, as Raffael hauled Mönchengladbach level midway through the half with a wonderful individual goal. Receiving the ball on the right-hand side, the Brazilian rolled his marker, advanced inside and curled in a left-footed effort from 25 yards. The afternoon soon got a lot worse for Schalke, as captain Höwedes was sent off for a handball in the box, allowing Kruse to ease Gladbach in front from the penalty spot.
Having a man less did little to interrupt Schalke's game plan initially, with the Royal Blues content to sit deep in their own half and try their luck on the break. Farfan and Boateng were the Gelsenkirchen side's main threats going forward in the second half and linked up well an several occasions, but the home back line - which had only conceded four times at the Borussia Park before Matchday 15 - was easily able to deal with everything that came its way.
Foals pull clear
As the match wore on Gladbach increased the tempo in search of a two-goal cushion. Juan Arango singed the roof of the net with a trademark long-range strike, but despite the home side camping out in the Schalke half, that was as close as they came to extending their lead, with Jens Keller's troops defending compactly and in numbers.
Schalke almost snatched a point in the last minute when Boateng's header appeared to be heading into the bottom corner, but ter Stegen was on hand to save. The result means Gladbach stay in fourth place and are now seven points clear of Schalke in fifth.
Line-ups and statistics