FC Schalke 04 ran out comfortable winners at home to FC Augsburg thanks to a brace from striker Guido Burgstaller as they look to alleviate relegation fears between their UEFA Europa League ties against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The game got off to the best possible start for the Royal Blues as winter signing Burgstaller found space at the far post to turn home Schalke’s first goal from a corner this season in just the fourth minute. Burgstaller doubled the hosts’ lead just before the half-hour mark as he slotted home after an excellent run from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Ralf Fährmann pulled off an excellent save to deny Paul Verhaegh from the penalty spot, before Daniel Caligiuri bagged his first Bundesliga goal for Schalke to make it 3-0.
The second half began with close calls for both sides as neither team were able to turn home balls across the face of goal. Celebrating his 200th Bundesliga appearance, Choupo-Moting remained a constant threat down the left and again caused Die Fuggerstädter issues just after the hour when he curled an effort towards the far corner, which went narrowly wide. Max Meyer had the chance to rub salt into the wound with a fourth goal, but his shot from ten yards was straight at goalkeeper Marwin Hitz.
Man of the Match
Burgstaller put in the perfect striker’s performance for Schalke as he bagged his first brace for the Royal Blues with just his seventh touch of the ball in this game. The Austria international had just three efforts on goal and hit the back of the net with two of them in a clinical performance before going off to rapturous applause from the Schalke faithful.
It was a thoroughly professional performance from Schalke between their Europa League last-16 ties against Gladbach. They leapfrog Augsburg into eleventh place, but the Royal Blues will still have one eye on the sides below them with only seven points between them and the relegation play-off place.
- Burgstaller’s first three Bundesliga goals for Schalke have made the score 1-0.
- Verhaegh missed just his second penalty in the Bundesliga out of 17. It was also the first he’s had saved.
- Augsburg have lost for the first time in five games against Schalke, but have still only won one of their 12 Bundesliga meetings with the Royal Blues.
Schalke: Fährmann – Höwedes (c), Kehrer, Nastasic – Caligiuri (Schöpf 64'), Geis, Meyer, Bentaleb, Kolasinac (Aogo 77')– Choupo-Moting, Burgstaller (Konoplyanka 84')
Coach: Torsten Frings
Augsburg: Hitz – Verhaegh (c), Kacar, Hinteregger, Stafylidis – Leitner, Kohr - Schmid (Teigl 46'), Koo, Altintop (Max 77') – Bobadilla (Ji 40')
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Watch: Choupo-Moting was delighted to mark his 200th Bundesliga appearance with a victory!: