Frankfurt's Schaaf celebrates milestone win over Schalke

Frankfurt - Eintracht Frankfurt substitute Lucas Piazon scored the only goal as Thomas Schaaf celebrated 500 games as a Bundesliga head coach with a 1-0 home win over FC Schalke 04.

Choupo-Moting offside

Ironically enough, that's exactly how the former SV Werder Bremen tactician kicked off his managerial career over 15-and-a-half years ago, and the 53-year-old once again showed why he is considered one of the German game's all-time great strategists by masterminding the Eagles' first league win in over two months.

An eye-watering 32 goals had already been plundered around the grounds on Matchday 21, including six in the opening fixture of the weekend between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FSV Mainz 05. The game in Frankfurt almost got off to a similar start to that one as Schalke goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther misjudged a probing cross from Bastian Ozcipka, but Sonny Kittel was unable to make anything of the loose ball.

The Royal Blues were, of course, always going to have chances of their own against a Frankfurt side that had shipped 41 league goals so far in 2014/15. Joel Matip headed narrowly wide from an offside position, before Schalke's leading scorer Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting stuck away what he thought was the opening goal, only for the linesman to once again raise his flag.

Samba super sub

The visitors hadn't done much wrong, notwithstanding the occasional wobble from 19-year-old rookie Wellenreuther, and almost got their noses in front late in the half. Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, though, got down well to deny Marco Höger - the energetic Schalke midfielder by far and away the best player on the park during the first 45.

Schaaf's response in the Eintracht dugout was to throw on Piazon in place of Kittel. The Brazilian midfielder had only been on the pitch for 20 minutes, but that was all he needed to put the hosts in front, the Chelsea FC loanee heading home his first Bundesliga goal since Matchday 6 following a diligent bit of play out wide involving Stefan Aigner and Timothy Chandler.

No way through

It was Frankfurt's ninth league goal of the season to have come directly from a cross and it was a ploy that Schalke's three-man back line simply could not get their heads around. Max Meyer entered the fray and Matija Nastasic moved up front for Roberto Di Matteo's men, although chances were proving increasingly hard to come by.

That said, Choupo-Moting had one final opportunity to pull the visitors level, but the Cameroonian international was unable to beat Trapp as Schalke fell to their first league defeat since losing at home to 1. FC Köln on Matchday 15.

Line-ups and statistics