Schalke ease past Hamburg
Schalke cruised to a 3-1 victory over Hamburg in Gelsenkirchen this afternoon to move within a point of third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
All four goals came in the first half, with Teemu Pukki giving Schalke the lead after five minutes and Christoph Metzelder adding a second 21 minutes later. Dutch international Klaas Jan Huntelaar converted a penalty shortly after the half-hour mark before Gojko Kacar pulled a goal back just before the break.
While Schalke have a UEFA Champions League place in their sights, Hamburg remain in the relegation fight, just four points above the bottom three. The visitors were on the back foot from the off as Atsuto Uchida raced to the touchline and crossed into the six-yard box where Pukki was unmarked and nodded in his fifth goal of the season.
Hamburg came close to an equaliser, but Marcell Jansen blasted into the side-netting after a swift counter-attack in the 22nd minute. At the other end, Hamburg goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny denied Jermaine Jones in a one-on-one situation but there was little he could do after 26 minutes as Metzelder lashed home Jurado's corner from close range.
Kacar forced a fine save from Schalke goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand after 29 minutes, while Pukki nearly doubled his tally with a shot which flashed inches wide of the target. The hosts did make it 3-0, however, when Heiko Westermann was adjudged to have fouled Huntelaar in the box and the former Real Madrid and AC Milan striker made no mistake from the spot for his 19th goal of the season.
Having been overwhelmed in the opening half, Hamburg did at least get on the board before the break as Joel Matip's sloppy clearance fell kindly for Kacar to fire in. The second half was less entertaining although Drobny did well to keep out a Jurado effort and then deny Jones once more. Hamburg offered little other than late efforts from Mladen Petric and Westermann.