Schalke defeat Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 to climb up to third position in Bundesliga
Berlin, Feb 7 (IANS) Schalke overcame Monchengladbach 1-0 thanks to Tranquillo Barnetta's early winner at the curtain raiser of the 20th round in the German Bundesliga.
Schalke underlined their UEFA Champions League aspirations as the "Royal Blues" earned vital points against rivals Monchengladbach to move on the third place in the standings, Xinhua reported on Friday.
Barnetta's early goal was enough to secure Schalke the 10th victory of the season and Monchengladbach's first loss in 2015.
From the kick-off, Schalke left no doubt that they wanted to deny Monchengladbach their third straight win after the start of the second half of the season. While Robert Di Matteo's men defended deep and lurked for counter attacks, the offensive-minded Monchengladbach were in search for a deep ball to overcome Schalke's bulwark.
However, it were the hosts who were successful with their strategy as Jan Kirchhoff intercepted a build-up play by Monchengladbach's Raffael, allowing Kevin Boateng to cross the ball from the right wing into the penalty area, where Barnetta broke the deadlock at the near post, just 11 minutes into the game in his 250th Bundesliga appearance.
Monchengladbach lacked in ideas and were unable to level the scores within the break. After the restart, the "Foals" piled on the pressure to work out their first chance at the 65th minute. Monchengladbach's defender Roel Brouwers chipped the ball into the path of substitute Ibrahima Traore, who saw his effort saved by young goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther.
Monchengladbach pressed frenetically against Schalke's defence but all their offensive actions remained fruitless, as the hosts were able to protect their narrow 1-0 lead to the end.
With the result, Schalke jumped from the sixth place to the third position. Meanwhile, Monchengladbach slipped from the third to the fourth position.
The following fixtures are scheduled for Saturday: relegation-threatened Stuttgart face front-runners Bayern Munich, second-placed Wolfsburg host Hoffenheim, Mainz see Berlin, Freiburg encounter last placed Dortmund, newly promoted Cologne clash against newly promoted Paderborn and Hamburg meet Hannover.