By Milan Pavlovic, Monchengladbach
Not even royal blue, they wore the moment of frustration. The players of FC Schalke 04 trotted after the 1: 2 (0: 1) in Mönchengladbach, the third defeat in the third season game, in their highlighter green away jerseys from the lawn. The second of the preseason looks now at a reflection of the table of the past season: As fifteenth, the club could be passed on Sunday to the penultimate place – only Bayer Leverkusen is definitely behind it. Although it is not a negative record for the Schalke, but the ambitious Westphalia should not be interested in repeating the miserable balance of 2016 (five defeats).
Coach Domenico Tedesco, who had talked about a "hot situation" before the game, said this time: "The result is disappointing, but we are not confused by the results." Playful one is however "on the right way". Where does he lead? On Tuesday it will be in the Champions League against Porto, on Saturday evening against FC Bayern Munich. Let's see what conclusion the 33-year-old coach then comes.
The game in Gladbach began with a curious bang: one of the slowest header goals of the recent Bundesliga past. In a corner kick by Jonas Hofmann, Matthias Ginter enjoyed protection of the species after 126 seconds and also profited from the fact that Daniel Caligiuri jumped under the flank. Ginters conclusion was anything but strong – but because the Schalke leave the posts vacant, the ball trickled to 1: 0 in the right corner. First chance, first goal, that could have continued on the other side. But Franco di Santo preferred to dribble after a picture book account instead of shooting in the penalty area.
Schalke's coach had used an offensive 3-4-3 formation to make Borussia run high and not even let it unfold. The concept initially did not work out, to say the least. The guests were indeed active and committed – and yet came too late, because the Gladbacher finer, nimble and played more accurately, again and again in the gaps that offered the sometimes casually overplayed guests. No Borussia fan missed the injured playmaker Raphael. "The pressing behavior did not work," Tedesco admitted.
Gladbach's goalkeeper Sommer is on top form
Typical of the first 40 minutes were the scenes with Schalke's young midfielder Hamza Mendyl. The physically active 20-year-old was to be noted how much he wanted to shine left. But a late on Hazard brought him the yellow card (22), and over zealous and another foul on the opponent's penalty area could not have led to a second warning 90 seconds later. But referee Manuel Gräfe showed himself gracious, and Schalke coach took the next best opportunity to replace the Moroccan.
Gladbach had less of the game, but seemed clearly determined. Thorgen Hazard danced out Sebastian Rudy on the penalty area, but his shot failed as well to goalkeeper ferryman (29) as center-forward Alassane Pléa, who could take advantage of his header from five yards (37th), that the guests refused to to approach him. Nevertheless, it was only 1: 0, and reminded the Schalke with five strong minutes at the end of the half. But the efficiency that distinguished her on the way to second place last season was missing, as in Wolfsburg (1: 2) and against Berlin (0: 2). After a slippery pass from Jantschke Mark Uth pushed the ball past the gate (41.), and two minutes later came the new Schalke striker after his fine performance from twelve meters to the conclusion, but he failed to Yann summer. Gladbach's Swiss goalkeeper had already responded brilliantly in a header from Salif Sané (33).
The second half, the guests began powerful, almost angry. Although Gladbach is famous for lurking for counterattack, but the home side probably did not want to be pushed back so deep. What was missing were clear degrees. Mark Uth scored an offside goal (50th) and came just before the late summer (63rd). But the pressure eased again soon, and the real opportunities had the hosts, the "bite back into the game," as Gladbach coach Dieter Hecking proudly reported. The game finally tipped on Gladbacher side, as the Schalke sail another Wendt flank through the box and left the substitute Patrick Herrmann left uncovered what the offensive player with a placed low shot to 2-0 (76.). And what did guest access Sebastian Rudy do? Had to be treated shortly thereafter for fighting.
After that Yann Sommer competed with two more spectacular saves – against Bentaleb (84th) and Uth (88th) – for the award of the player of the game. "He's been outstanding for nine months," Hecking praised. Only when everything was too late for Schalke, the keeper had defeated Embolo (90. + 3). But to parry the shot of his countryman, the Swiss would have to be four meters tall.
"I have the feeling that we are fair game"
Bayern complained in a 3-1 loss to Leverkusen two injuries. Corentin Tolisso could be out long. And a foul on Rafinha rages the club leaders.
From the stadium of Matthias Schmid