Record-breaking Naldo nods Schalke into second with win in Stuttgart
Schalke snapped a recent slide to return to second place in the Bundesliga at the expense of a stuttering Stuttgart side, who have now lost six of their last seven, with Naldo breaking a record in a 2-0 road win.
Stuttgart 0-2 Schalke
Goals: 0-1 Naldo (14'), 0-2 Harit (19', pen.)
Naldo etched his name in the history books by making his 337th Bundesliga appearance – more than any other Brazilian – and he crowned it with his fifth goal of the season, a trademark header in off the far post from Daniel Caligiuri's free-kick. A foul by Stuttgart debutant Jacob Bruun Larsen on Leon Goretzka inside the penalty area gave Schalke the chance to double their lead within five minutes, and Amine Harit took it to silence the Mercedes-Benz-Arena. Mario Gomez had two chances to halve Schalke's lead on the stroke of half-time, but desperate defending denied the Germany international as the Royal Blues held their advantage going into the break.
Goretzka tried to divert Harit's low cross in with his backheel early in the second half, before leaving the field with what appeared to be a thigh injury. Yevhen Konoplyanka – making his first start of 2018 – should have put the game beyond Stuttgart after an hour's play, but he somehow pulled his shot wide of an open goal. The hosts tried to make the most of this let-off, but Ralf Fährmann denied Gomez before Dzenis Burnic blazed over. Naldo was denied a second by a spectacular Ron Robert Zieler save, but that did not ruin his nor Schalke's day as Domenico Tedesco's men celebrated their first away win since 4 November, and climbed to second in the standings.
- Stuttgart have now lost six of their last seven Bundesliga games.Naldo made his 337th Bundesliga appearance, taking him ahead of Ze Roberto as the Brazilian with the most appearances in Germany's top-flight.The Brazilian is this season's most prolific defender, with five goals, four of which have come with his head – more than any other player in the Bundesliga this term.Harit took – and scored – his first penalty in the Bundesliga.Dzenis Burnic and Jacob Bruun Larsen both played for current Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf against a Stuttgart side coached by Domenico Tedesco in the 2015 Youth Cup final, with Dortmund winning 4-0 – they were reunited today, with Larsen making his Bundesliga starting debut.Schalke coach Tedesco worked in Stuttgart's youth academy between 2008 and 2015.
Stuttgart: Zieler – Pavard, Baumgartl, Kaminski – Larsen (46' Donis), Burnic, Gentner (c) Özcan (46' Ginczek), Insua – Gomez, Akolo (67' Ascacibar)
Unused subs: Meyer, Aogo, Thommy, Beck
Absentees: Mangala (muscular), Mane (thigh), Zimmermann (knee ligaments), Badstuber (adductor)
Coach: Hannes Wolf
Schalke:Fährmann (c) – Kehrer, Naldo, Nastasic – Caligiuri, Meyer, Harit, Oczipka – Goretzka (56' Stambouli), Konoplyanka (80' Schöpf),– Di Santo (65' Burgstaller)
Unused subs: Nübel, Bentaleb, Pjaca, Embolo
Absentees: Insua (chest), McKennie (knee ligaments)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco