It was another dark day for Schalke on Saturday as they were beaten once again, this time by Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Both sides went into this affair on barren winless runs, with Schalke at 10 and Gladbach at seven. It was the away side who managed to end theirs after a comfortable 3-0 win, though, moving them up to 9th while condemning Dimitrios Grammozis to his first home defeat since taking over from Christian Gross last month.
Story of the match
Die Fohlen started the stronger of the two sides, and they made the most of their advantage by taking the lead in the 15th minute. Some good work from Marcus Thuram on the byline led to a cross that was poorly dealt with by William, and his awful clearance went right to Florian Neuhaus. His shot was ricocheted into the path of captain Lars Stindl, and he was able to smash the ball into the back of the net to give Marco Rose's team the lead.
This sprung an early end to William's evening. Hauled off after a dismal 20 minutes where the Brazilian struggled with Thuram's pace and power, he was replaced by experienced left-back Bastian Oczpika, meaning a switch in formation for Schalke's defence.
Gladbach's dominance continued despite Grammozis' tactical change. A Stefan Lainer cross put into the corridor of uncertainty was dangerous, but no one was able to latch onto it. Alassane Pléa, meanwhile, caused problems for Schalke throughout the first-half. A through ball to his compatriot Thuram almost resulted in a second, but his attempted chip went past the post.
Die Königsblauen's best chance in the first half came through youngster Kerim Çalhanoğlu, who tested Yann Sommer in the Gladbach goal with a near-post effort.
The away side deservedly led at half-time after an extremely controlled performance, although Rose would have been disappointed at the fact that the lead wasn't bigger.
His worries were soon put to bed 15 minutes after the break, though, as shocking Schalke defending from a corner allowed Lainer to head home his second goal of the season following a Jonas Hofmann delivery. Ironically enough, the right-backs only other goal of the campaign came in similar fashion against Köln.
A third followed for Gladbach with another defender adding his name to the scoresheet. This time it was Nico Elvedi who got in on the action, as a cross from Pléa found the Swiss centre-back in the box, and his header somehow got across the line even though it really should have been stopped by Frederik Rønnow.
The Schalke goalkeeper did somewhat redeem himself moments later, though, as pulled off a fantastic save to deny Thuram from close range.
Die Fohlen put the ball in the opposing net for a fourth time on the day, but an offside flag denied Breel Embolo a goal against his former club following some great initial work by Neuhaus and Pléa in the build-up.
Schalke - Frederik Rønnow; Timo Becker, Shkodran Mustafi, Malick Thiaw; William (20'), Omar Mascarell (YC), Sead Kolašinac, Suat Serdar, Kerim Çalhanoğlu; Benito Raman (63'), Matthew Hoppe
Subs - Bastian Oczpika (20'), Amine Harit (63'), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (76')
Borussia Monchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer (G)(90'), Matthias Ginter, Nico Elvedi, Ramy Bensebaini (YC); Florian Neuhaus (90'), Christoph Kramer; Jonas Hofmann (83'), Lars Stindl (G,YC) (83'), Marcus Thuram (77'); Alassane Pléa
Subs - Valentino Lazaro (77'), Hannes Wolf (83'), Breel Embolo (83'), Louis Beyer (90'), Denis Zakaria (90')
Another defeat for Schalke here has all but succumbed them to relegation. With eight games left to go and an 11 point gap to conquer, Die Königsblauen may as well start planning for next season in the 2. Bundesliga already. A lack of fight and desire certainly wasn't always the case versus Gladbach, but there was a serious gap in quality between Schalke and their opponents on the day, which was clear for all to see.
After an awful run of form, Marco Rose's team finally got a much needed win. Die Fohlen were on top from the first whistle to the last, completely outplaying a hapless Schalke side. The three goals, coupled with a controlled showing, should give Gladbach some renewed confidence going forward in their late push for European football.
Man of the match - Florian Neuhaus
A day after being named in the most recent Germany squad, the cultured 23-year-old put in a performance that showed just why Joachim Löw rates him so highly. Controlling the tempo throughout the game, Neuhaus almost scored a wonder goal in the first-half, twisting and turning before hitting a shot that went just wide. This stellar showing continued following the break, with Frederik Rønnow forced to deny Neuhaus from long range before the midfielder had a potential assist for Breel Embolo ruled out for offside.