Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored twice as Schalke 04 moved provisionally third in the Bundesliga with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Augsburg on Friday.
The home side capitalized on a mistake from Schalke’s Tim Hoogland to score in the fifth minute. Tobias Werner ran onto his weak back header, took the ball on his chest and dispatched it inside the far post with his next touch.
Huntelaar equalized on a rebound in the 33rd. Augsburg captain Daniel Baier lost the ball and Julian Draxler back-heeled it to Kevin-Prince Boateng, who tried his luck from 22m. Alexander Manninger saved, but spilled the ball.
“’The Hunter’ was there where he should be,” Boateng said.
Sead Kolasinac crossed for Huntelaar’s second in the 49th. It was his fifth goal in two Bundesliga games, and a league-leading seventh since the winter break.
“It was a difficult game for us,” the in-form Dutchman said. “We weren’t in it in the beginning. Too many individual mistakes.”
“We really had to fight to get into the game. Thankfully we got the goals, but we could have conceded at the end too,” he said.
Augsburg finished the game in the ascendancy, but the visitors withstood the pressure to move within a point of bitter rival Borussia Dortmund.
Schalke moved three points clear of Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who were to visit runaway leader Bayern Munich yesterday, while Augsburg remain provisionally in sixth place.
Schalke are scheduled to take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday and are faced with the seemingly impossible task of overturning the 6-1 defeat from the sides’ first-leg of their round-of-16 tie.
“It’ll be difficult to progress, but we’re not going just for the sightseeing,” Boateng said.