The Bundesliga kicked off 2013 in dramatic fashion as Schalke and Hannover played out a nine-goal thriller in Gelsenkirchen. Jefferson Farfan's goal at the end of a tame first half gave no indication of what was to come in a dramatic second 45 minutes at the Arena AufSchalke.
Julian Draxler doubled Schalke's lead in the 49th minute, but two goals in four minutes from Pinto da Silva and Szabolcs Huszti brought Hannover level. They were not able to celebrate for long, though, before quick-fire goals from Marco Hoger and Ciprian Marica restored Schalke's two-goal advantage.
Huszti replied immediately, but Hannover could not find a way back into the game with Lewis Holtby on target late on before Mame Diouf's overhead kick gave Hannover a small late consolation.
Schalke's bright start to the game, in which they went close on three occasions in the first five minutes, was only a temporary illusion as the game soon petered out. Hannover found their feet and prevented Die Königsblauen from doing any harm until Farfan struck in the 43rd minute, volleying past Ron-Robert Zieler from a tight angle.
Schalke were quickest out of the blocks in the second half too, doubling their lead in the 49th minute through Draxler, who was put through by Holtby and made no mistake when faced with Zieler. There was no indication that Hannover could get back into the game, but a fortunate deflection to Pinto's shot off Roman Neustadter gave them a glimmer of hope. That hope became belief four minutes later when Huszti volleyed them level with only their second attempt on goal.
Schalke shaped up and regained the lead in the 64th minute with Holtby again the provider, this time for Hoger to beat Zieler. And the game appeared to be over again when Marica made it four for the home side, picking his spot beyond Zieler.
The stadium announcer was still reading out the goalscorer's name when Huszti struck again at the other end to bring Hannover right back into the match. However, Holtby, who will join Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, added his name to the scoresheet having already provided two assists with a simple tap-in in the 89th minute.
Yet Diouf had saved the very best for last, although his stunning overhead kick from 20 yards was merely a consolation for a side which scored four goals away from home, but were still beaten.