Setback but not a step back
Schalke 04’s small unbeaten run of three games came to an end on Saturday as they lost 0-2 to Borussia Mönchengladbach. However, once the initial disappointment passed, the team realised that this setback was not necessarily a step back.
One set of play stood out in the aftermath of the game. In the 59th minute, Alexander Nübel rushed out to stop the oncoming Thorgan Hazard, but unfortunately clipped the player. Hazard went down and Nübel was deemed to have thwarted a goal scoring opportunity and consequently sent off. With Schalke down to ten men, the rhythm of the game changed completely.
Late blow ends in disappointment
Up to the red card, Mark Uth believes that “we had been playing well and penetrated their defence when we could.” The striker had the opportunity to put his team in the lead shortly after the break after a good pass from Suat Serdar, but his goal-bound effort was blocked. Before the break, Daniel Caligiuri also scored free-kick. Both defences stood strong, resulting in the attackers of both teams struggling to find a way through.
“After the red card, Gladbach became more offensive and so naturally it was more difficult for us,” said Caligiuri, who thought the sending off was very unlucky, because “the free-kick taken by Gladbach to play Hazard through on goal, was ten metres away from its original position.” Nevertheless, Uth thinks: “We have to be cleverer as a team when in these situations.”
We are willing to continue on this path.
“A man down, we tried to keep the clean sheet,” said the striker. Uth and his teammates stood strong and thanks to their commitment and tactical discipline, nullified many Gladbach attacks. Five minutes before the end however, Gladbach scored. “The fact that Christoph Kramer’s shot was deflected and so impossible to defend, kind of sums up our Bundesliga season,” said an annoyed Caligiuri. Bastian Oczipka also struggled to accept the final score after Florian Neuhaus scored to make it 2-0 in injury time. “We are massively disappointed with the result. We seem to come up against obstacles in every game this season,” said the left-back. “We don’t have enough points on the board but as a team we know that things are going to get better again.”
It was a wonderful moment, to step onto the pitch at the VELTINS Arena. The fans gave me a fantastic reception.
Caligiuri also came to this conclusion: “We have proven today that we have the right mentality. We have definitely improved from the first half of the season – even though we lost today.” The 31-year-old is optimistic and having worn the captain’s armband on Saturday, is raring to go for the upcoming games. “We are all ready to continue on this path.”
Rabbi Matondo makes professional debut
Rabbi Matondo came on for Sebastian Rudy in the 75th minute of the game to make his professional debut. “It was a wonderful moment, to step onto the pitch at the VELTINS Arena. The fans gave me a fantastic reception,” said the 18-year-old Welshman, who was however, disappointed with the result. “It was very hard for us this evening. However, we won’t let our heads drop and will give everything for the rest of the season.” The next game is on Wednesday (06/02/19, 20:45 CET) as Schalke 04 take on Fortuna Düsseldorf in the DFB-Pokal.