Berlin, Jan 18: The Royal Blues came off with a winning start as goals from Suat Serdar and Michael Gregoritsch edged uninspired runner up Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 at the curtain raiser of the 18th round.
Despite the winter break both sides did not need long to warm up as Monchengladbach's Alassane Plea tested Schalke back up goalkeeper Markus Schubert with just five minutes into the clash.
The hosts responded two minutes later but winter signing Gregoritsch and Serdar saw their efforts defused by custodian Yann Sommer.
Monchengladbach's goalkeeper remained in the thick of things as he first denied Alessandro Schopf with a leg parry before he won a one-on-one with Benito Raman at the half hour mark.
The visitors showed a vital sign before half time when Gregoritsch had to clear Marcus Thuram's header off the goal-line.
After the restart, Schalke grabbed a fairy-tale start into the second half as Gregoritsch's square pass allowed Serdar, who had all time and space, to break the deadlock with a well placed shot from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner in the 48th minute.
The "Knappen" gained momentum and doubled their advantage only ten minutes later as Raman broke through following a fast break and teed up for Gregoritsch, who reaped an assist and goal at his debut to put the result beyond doubt.
Monchengladbach were unable to respond whereas Schalke were able to protect their lead to the final whistle.
"It is a deserved win for Schalke. They were better in every department tonight," Monchengladbach coach Marco Rose said on Friday. With the result, Schalke jumped on the 4th place whereas Monchengladbach stay on the second place in the standings.
The following fixtures are scheduled for Saturday: front-runners Leipzig host newly promoted Union Berlin, Augsburg face Borussia Dortmund, Fortuna Dusseldorf encounter Werder Bremen, Cologne see Wolfsburg, Mainz clash with Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt travel to Hoffenheim. (UNI-Xinhua)