The visitors, in their quest for third place, were decidedly second best throughout their trip to the SGL Arena, and were somewhat fortunate to escape with a drawSchalke and Augsburg played out a 1-1 draw at the SGL Arena on Sunday, a result which does neither team any real favours in their end of season ambitions as the Bundesliga finish line approaches.
Huub Stevens' men remain two points clear in third place, but missed the chance to put a fair bit of distance between themselves and fourth placed Gladbach in the race for the final automatic Champions League qualifying spot.
In truth, Schalke deserved little from this game, as a limp and uninspired performance in the attacking third meant that even Klass Jan Huntelaar's 38th minute leveler, which cancelled out a Sebastian Langkamp opener, was something of a shock.
All credit must go to Augsburg, however, who were clearly the better side in both halves of the pitch, and probably should have came away with more than the draw, which nevertheless puts them four points clear of the relegation zone.
The hosts started strongly after five minutes, Daniel Baier sending Koo Ja-Cheol on his way with a stabbed pass, but the Korean seemed unable to make up his mind, and was blocked off by Lars Unnerstall as he was about to pull the trigger.
Schalke’s respite was only momentary, though, as from Marcel Ndjeng’s resulting corner, Langkamp rose, completely unmarked, to crash a header in off the underside of the bar.
Koo caused panic with a darting run into the area five minutes later, cueing a goalmouth scramble that ended when Axel Bellinghausen’s shot was beaten away by Unnerstall from close range.
For a side rated statistically as the third-highest scorers in the Bundesliga, Schalke were extremely pedestrian up front, with Augsburg looking the more threatening side going forward, and the likes of Raul barely able to get a kick.
That all changed seven minutes before half time, as out of nowhere, Huub Stevens men drew level with their first attack of note.
Joel Matip’s long pass from defence picked Huntelaar out between the two centre-backs, and the Netherlands forward sprinted clear before burying past Simon Jentszch.
Augsburg were quickly back down the pitch after the restart, Bellinghausen again denied from point blank range by Unnerstall after a clever slide-rule pass from Koo.
Ndjeng went close a few minutes into the second half with a freekick from the right that flashed narrowly wide of Unnerstall’s far post.
Neither side seemed in any hurry to force the issue offensively, but the creaky Schalke back four meant that Augsburg were always in with a shout for a second.
Matip coughed up possession inside his own area, allowing Torsten Oehrl a sight on goal from which he really should have hit the target.
Just past the hour mark, Ndjeng was left in acres of space at the far post to meet Bellinghausen’s cross, but missed the target with his header when it would probably have been easier to score.
Schalke were sill nowhere to be found offensively, with a tame header by Jermaine Jones from a Jefferson Farfan freekick about the best they could muster.
Matthias Ostrzolek took aim at the other end of the field, showing great technique with a ferocious effort from 25 yards out that flew about a foot too high.
There was to be no more openings, however, as the match petered out to the full time whistle, disrupted only be a few clumsy challenges which forced the referee into a late flurry of yellow cards.