FC Schalke 04 shrugged off their current domestic woes with an assured performance in a 3-1 victory at home to FC Salzburg in the UEFA Europa League.
Determined to show a reaction to suffering their worst ever start to a Bundesliga season, Schalke began aggressively and did not allow their hosts to settle into any sort of rhythm. The Royal Blues' early pressure was rewarded when Leon Goretzka headed in the rebound after his shot had been saved to give the hosts a deserved half-time lead.
Markus Weinzierl's charges extended their advantage shortly after the restart when Benedikt Höwedes' right-wing cross took a deflection off Salzburg defender Duje Caleta-Car and went into the net. The victory was sealed shortly afterwards when Naldo headed in from a corner, rendering Jonathan Soriano's well-taken strike in the 72nd minute a mere consolation.
Man of the match
Goretzka was outstanding in central midfield, setting the tone for his team-mates with his powerful running and commitment in winning 15 tackles – more than anyone else on the pitch. His goal also came just at the right time to pave the way for a confidence-boosting win.
Schalke may not have collected a single point in the Bundesliga yet, but they are joint-top of the Europa League Group I standings with two wins from as many games.
- Schalke had 20 shots on goal to Salzburg's 13.The hosts had 55 per cent possession overall.Johannes Geis and Höwedes had more touches (75) than any of their team-mates.In 26 outings, Schalke have never lost a Europa League or UEFA Cup game after being in the lead at half-time.
Schalke: Fährmann – Höwedes (c), Naldo, Nastasic, Kolasinac (Baba 80') – Geis, Bentaleb – Schöpf, Goretzka (Konoplyanka 67'), Meyer (Stambouli 89') - Embolo
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Salzburg: Walke – Lainer, Miranda, Caleta-Car, Ulmer – Laimer (Radosevic 65'), Upamecano – Wanderson (Rzatkowski 89'), Berisha, Lazaro (Minamino 65') - Soriano
Coach: Oscar Garcia