Schalke 04’s Chinedu Obasi scored and set up a goal for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in a 2-0 win over Hertha BSC that took them up a place to second in the Bundesliga after the eighth win in their past nine home games.
Nigerian Obasi, replacing the injured Jefferson Farfan on the right wing, made the most of a rare start this season to lift Schalke to 54 points, two ahead of Borussia Dortmund, who were due to travel to relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart yesterday.
“I’m so happy for the team to have gone on such a good run,” Schalke coach Jens Keller told reporters.
“It’s impressive. What we have achieved is outstanding and if we manage to get third place then we will have played a superb season,” Keller said.
Schalke, who have lost once — against champions Bayern Munich — in their past 13 league games as they chase a UEFA Champions League qualifying place, went in front after 16 minutes when Obasi shook off two markers and rounded the goalkeeper to score.
Schalke, who also hit the woodwork in the first half, looked the livelier side, despite missing 10 players through injury.
Netherlands striker Huntelaar notched his 11th goal in 13 league matches this season seconds after the restart by drilling in a low shot having been sent through by Obasi.
Hertha remain in ninth place after their fourth straight league defeat.
Bayern, who secured the title on Tuesday with seven games left in the campaign, were to host mid-table TSG 1899 Hoffenheim yesterday ahead of their UEFA Champions League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday.