Schalke 04 beat fellow UEFA Champions League contenders Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-0 on Saturday to notch their first win of the season and end their opponents’ three-game winning streak.
Schalke, with last week’s new signings Kevin-Prince Boateng and Dennis Aogo in the lineup, took the lead on the half-hour mark with Marco Hoeger’s glancing header from a Jefferson Farfan free-kick.
Buoyed by their midweek qualification for the Champions League group stage, Schalke were more aggressive and Boateng could have grabbed a goal on his debut, but Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved his header from point-blank range.
“I am very proud of the team because we had two very busy weeks,” said Schalke coach Jens Keller, who will feel some of the pressure lifted after a bad start to the season. “Kevin-Prince Boateng was very good today, but I also want to mention Aogo, who shut out Sidney Sam.”
Despite controlling the game against a surprisingly toothless Leverkusen, who had won eight straight Bundesliga games stretching back to last season, Schalke had to wait until the 83rd minute to seal victory.
Peru international Farfan converted a penalty after he was brought down by Emir Spahic to end any Leverkusen hopes of an equalizer.
The win lifted Schalke into 13th place on four points, with Leverkusen third on nine.
“I am very happy to have won today,” Boateng told reporters. “We were solid at the back and scored the goals we needed. I could have had one goal myself, but Leno made a great save.”
Hannover 96 came from a goal down to crush FSV Mainz 05 4-1, while Hamburg SV demolished promoted Eintracht Braunschweig 4-0 for their first victory of the campaign.
Mainz’s Nicolai Mueller scored his fifth goal in four games, but hosts Hannover struck twice late in the first and second halves to climb up to fourth place on nine points, ahead of the visitors on goal-difference.
Hamburg SV celebrated their first win of the season by beating Braunschweig with two early goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Jacques Zoua.
Hakan Calhanoglou, who came on in the 79th minute, still had time to grab a brace for himself and lift Hamburg to 12th place on four points, easing some of the pressure on coach Thorsten Fink.
Borussia Moenchengladbach scored five times, including a Havard Nordtveidt own-goal, to ease past Werder Bremen 4-1 and move up to seventh.
Also on Saturday, VfL Wolfsburg defeated promoted Hertha BSC 2-0 at the Volkswagen Arena, while Augsburg won 1-0 away at Nuremberg.
Bayern Munich top the table with 10 points after their 1-1 draw at SC Freiburg on Tuesday last week.
Additional reporting by staff writer