Matchday 20’s Saturday night game in the Bundesliga saw Borussia strike late twice to see off FC Schalke 04, with goals from Christoph Kramer and Florian Neuhaus earning a 2-0 win in Gelsenkirchen.
The first half at the Veltins-Arena was a fairly even affair, albeit without much in the way of goalmouth action. Denis Zakaria had the Foals’ best chance when a one-two put him in beyond the Schalke defence, but goalkeeper Alexander Nübel got a decisive touch to send the ball wide. Daniel Caligiuri came close at the other end, and the stadium’s sound system even began playing the Royal Blues’ goal anthem, however, the full-back’s effort hit the side netting.
All in the all, the game was lacking in quality, but a key moment came in the 60th minute that opened up proceedings. A quick free-kick over the top put Thorgan Hazard through, and the Belgian was cleaned out by the on-rushing keeper just outside the penalty box. Nübel was shown a straight red and Ralf Fährmann came off the bench for the now ten-man Schalke. Borussia began to dominate possession with the extra player, although chances were still difficult to come by. Hazard failed to get enough power on a shot to really test Fährmann, while a free-kick thundered on target by Lars Stindl was also kept out by the substitute shot-stopper. With just five minutes left on the clock, the Foals finally found a way through, courtesy of the bench. Christoph Kramer drilled a volley into the top corner to the delight of the travelling supporters, before fellow substitute Florian Neuhaus then scuffed a finish over the goalkeeper and into the net to wrap up all three points in the 90th minute. The win takes Gladbach up to second, while Yann Sommer & Co. also claimed their tenth clean sheet of the campaign.
Head coach Dieter Hecking made two changes to the team that started against Augsburg last weekend. Denis Zakaria came into midfield in place of Florian Neuhaus, while Thorgan Hazard returned from injury and took over from Ibrahima Traoré. The rest of the team remained untouched and lined up as follows: Sommer – Lang, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt – Strobl, Zakaria, Hofmann – Plea, Stindl, Hazard.
There were just the usual three players missing through injury: Raffael (broken collarbone), Mamadou Doucouré (thigh tear) and Keanan Bennetts (thigh strain).