Schalke 04 close in at top

Schalke 04 have drawn level with league leaders Bayern Munich with a 2-1 victory over Hertha BSC on Friday evening.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar opened the scoring somewhat against the run of play in the 19th minute after the hosts gave away possession cheaply in the middle of the pitch. Lewis Holtby constructed the counter-attack by threading Christian Fuchs down the left wing. The Austrian’s cross was flicked on by Roman Hubnik to the Dutch striker at the back post who smashed the ball past Thomas Kraft with his second touch.

Schalke 04 were once again exposed from a set piece this season. This time, Raffael’s corner was headed home by Adrian Ramos, despite three defenders jumping with him. Roman Hubnik had an opportunity to add a second from a corner but for a poor first touch, allowing Lars Unnerstall to smother the ball.

A corner at the other end in the first half saw Kyriakos Papadopoulos narrowly head over the bar unmarked from Christian Fuch’s corner.

Teemu Pukki gave Schalke the lead for the second time on the stroke of half time. The Finnish striker scored a powerful effort into the roof of the net from outside the penalty area after taking a pass from Raul.

Hertha Berlin had been the better team in the first half and continued to take the game to Schalke in the second half but failed with the final ball. From nothing, Schalke nearly scored a third when Fuchs’ pass found Huntelaar in the box who’s first-time effort produced a fantastic save from Kraft, stopping the ball on the line.

Pierre-Michel Lasogga came the closest when he flashed an effort wide of goal whilst Schalke absorbed the pressure in the final 20 minutes.

Schalke 04 host Werder Bremen next week as they look to maintain an unlikely title challenge. Hertha Berlin travel to 1899 Hoffenheim.