RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Zack Steffen, Alfredo Morales, and Fortuna Dusseldorf came out on top in the Rhein Derby over FC Koln while Weston McKennie made his return to Schalke's starting line-up in their thrilling win.
Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-0 FC Koln
In a heated game between two bitter rivals, it would be Fortuna Dusseldorf that would come out the winners over FC Koln at Merkur Spiel-Arena.
Both Steffen and Morales were in the starting line-up for their team and played crucial roles to ensure that they got the upper hand in the first game of the derby.
With both teams struggling at the other end of the standings, taking all three points would definitely be a confidence booster as they have one more weekend of games before the international break.
It was a tense first 30 minutes of the game with a few chances for both sides. The best chance came for Dusseldorf in the 24th minute when Rouwen Hennings' header from an Erik Thommy free-kick hit the post before going out of play.
However, the forward would get another chance minutes later when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty. Hennings played the ball to Morales following a throw-in, and the midfielder had a clear path to the goal before being brought down by FC Koln defender Rafael Czichos.
Hennings would go to convert the spot-kick as he just got it past Timo Horn.
Koln started the second half pushing to find the equalizer and came close to finding it before the hour mark when Kingsley Schindler played the ball to Simon Terodde for a chance at goal, but Steffen would be there to make the save.
Any chance Koln thought of getting back into the game was put out of reach in the 61st minute when Thommy socred Dusseldorf's second on the day. Kaan Ayhan's clearance from the host's end wound in the path of the German winger as he fended off Schindler and slotted his shot past Horn.
A much-needed win for Dusseldorf and one that will certainly give them bragging rights until they meet again for the next game in 2020.
Dusseldorf sits in 13th place in the standings with 10 points.
Augsburg 2-3 Schalke
Amine Harit would score the game-winner for Schalke as they completed their comeback with a win over Augsburg at WWK Arena to keep them within reach of the Bundesliga leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.
Weston McKennie made his return to the starting line-up for the Royal Blues after sitting out with an injury during the international break and played the entire 90 minutes.
Things did not start off well for Schalke as they went down a goal in the 38th minute. Daniel Baier would curl his shot over a flat-footed Alexander Nubel to give the host the lead.
However, just when it looked like things would go the way of Augsburg, they would gift their opponents an equalizer before the halftime whistle. Stephan Lichtsteiner would send a glancing header from a Dan Caligiuri free-kick into the back of his team's own goal to give Schalke some confidence as they headed to the locker room.
Augsburg would retake the lead on the hour mark after the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty. Bastian Oczipka appeared to have handled the ball in the area as he prevented a cross from coming in. A review from the video assistant referee would confirm the infraction, and Alfredh Finnbogason went on to convert the spot-kick.
But any hopes for a win for the host would be dashed as Schalke scored two unanswered goals to seal their comeback.
Ozan Kabak leveled the score in the 71st minute with a header from another Caligiuri free-kick.
Then it would be left to the Moroccan international, Harit, to silence the Augsburg supporters as he scored the game-winner. Reece Oxford's poor back pass was a gift for Harit, and the midfielder darted for the Augsburg goal, toying with his marker before slotting his shot past Tomas Koubek.
The win moves Schalke up to sixth place in the standings with 18 points.
In other action from the Bundesliga, it was a rough weekend for John Brooks and Wolfsburg as they were shutout by Borussia Dortmund in a 3-0 loss.
Josh Sargent came off the bench for Werder Bremen as they allowed a late stoppage-time goal to settle for a 2-2 tie with Freiburg.
Khiry Shelton had a spot on the bench for Paderborn as they were blanked by Hoffenheim in a 3-0 loss.
Tim Chandler watched Eintracht Frankfurt thrash reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich from the bench as they came away with a 5-1 win.
In the 2. Bundesliga, Julian Green and Greuther Further have moved up to fifth place in the standings following their 3-1 win over Darmstadt.
Kevin Lankford came off the bench for St. Pauli as they shared the points with Karlsruher following a thrilling 2-2 tie.
Jann George had a spot on the bench as Jahn Regensburg's game with Osnabruck ended in a 3-3 tie.
Bobby Wood watched all of the action from the bench as leaders Hamburg could only muster up a 1-1 tie with Wehen Wiesbaden.
Down in the 3. Liga, Terrence Boyd, and Hallescher FC dropped from the top of the standings as they fell to Magdeburg in a 1-0 loss.
McKinze Gaines came off the bench for Sonnenhof Grossaspach as they came away with the 1-0 win over Zwickau.