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Sports

Bundesliga: Schalke gain ground on fourth place with slender win over Gladbach

The Royal Blues replace Borussia Mönchengladbach in the top four as the battle for the Champions League hots up. Schalke took the win on home soil thanks to a slice of fortune and an inspired goalkeeping performance.

Schalke 2-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

(Hinteregger 59' o.g., Goretzka 81' - Christensen 79')

Schalke claimed a massive three points in the race for Champions League qualification, beating rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 on Friday night.

The Royal Blues were largely second best against Andre Schubert's side, who haven't won away from home in seven league matches. Martin Hinteregger's own goal handed the hosts a lead against the run of play before Andreas Christensen leveled on 79 minutes.

But two minutes later, Leon Goretzka's speculative shot was diverted past his own keeper by Granit Xhaka as Andre Breitenreiter's men picked up their second win against the current top-four this season.

Breitenreiter's five changes from the defeat to Hertha Berlin gave the home side a fresh look with Sead Kolasinac and Sascha Riether returning to the back four. Leroy Sane was reinstated to the team, while the in-form Younes Belhanda dropped to the bench.

However, the unchanged Borussia Mönchengladbach started on the ascendency with Raffael, the team's top scorer, at the heart of their early dominance. Thorgan Hazard was lively on the left-flank and he blasted a good chance over the crossbar in the 17th minute.

On 28 minutes, US international Fabian Johnson squandered a great chance, firing over the crossbar from the left-side of the penalty box. Seven minutes later, Raffael was denied by the first of a string of excellent saves from Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann.

Gladbach miss chances

Deutschland Fußball 1. Bundesliga Schalke 04 - Borussia Mönchengladbach

Gladbach can't believe their luck as away slump continues

As the half drew to a close, the Foals passed up the best chance of the game. Hazard crossed diagonally to the back-post where Stindl should have scored, but again he was denied by Fährmann who denied the Gladbach midfielder from just a few yards out.

Schubert's side were set to rue those missed chances on the hour mark. Sane, despite an average first half performance, sneaked ahead of Nico Elvedi and his cross was comically bundled into the net by Hinteregger, one of the club's signings in the January window.

Gladbach's away record has been notably poor this season - they were without a win in their previous six league games away from Borussia-Park. On 62 minutes, Max Meyer saw a strike ruled out by the referee for offside as the Royal Blues, beaming with confidence, threatened to secure the points.

All Gladbach could muster before the last quarter of an hour was a superb long-range effort from Mo Dahoud which cannoned against the crossbar. Schubert tinkered with his team's shape, adding width in the form of Ibrahima Traore and extra pace through Patrick Herrmann.

Yet it was the freedom given to Christensen that dragged the Foals back into this encounter; the defender popping up on the edge of the box to fire in his third of the season.

Schalke, though, would land the decisive blow with eight minutes remaining as Goretzka's long-range strike hit Xhaka and wrong-footed Sommer to secure an important win for Breitenreiter who has been under pressure in recent weeks.