Dieter Hecking praised Borussia Monchengladbach for securing a 1-1 draw at Schalke in the first leg of the all-German Europa League clash, but insists his side are only slight favourites to reach the quarter-finals.
While Gladbach won 4-2 in a Bundesliga fixture between the sides on Saturday, Hecking always expected a far tougher test in the first leg of the last-16 tie.
Jonas Hofmann’s 15th-minute strike secured the visitors a crucial away goal ahead of the return match, although they were forced to weather a late onslaught under the closed roof inside the Veltins-Arena.
Having scored the equaliser in the first half, Guido Burgstaller was unfortunate to see a deflected strike stay out via the crossbar as Schalke pushed hard but ultimtely failed to gain an advantage on home soil.
“I’m very happy with the result,” Hecking told a post-match media conference.
“We sat a little bit too deep in the final 20 minutes and Yann Sommer made a couple of good saves, but you’re mistaken if you thought we were going to cruise to an easy victory this evening.
“I thought [Timothee] Kolodziejczak did very well this evening. Overall it was a good performance by us.
“If we were playing the second leg at a neutral venue I’d say the chances are 50-50, but we’re at home, so it’s 51-49 in our favour!”
Schalke counterpart Markus Weinzierl felt his team adapted well to a formation switch as they maintained their unbeaten home record in Europe this season.
“I don’t think it’s a bad result. It wasn’t easy to switch to a flat back four [from a back three], but I thought we did exceptionally well,” he said.
“There were plenty of positives to take from the game. We can be very happy.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!