Summary

  • Schalke climbed from seventh to fifth with the win, leapfrogging Mainz and Hertha Berlin.
  • Coach Breitenreiter's tenure came to an end with a resounding victory.
  • Sane concluded the season with eight goals and six assists.

FC Schalke 04 booked their place in next season's UEFA Europa League group stage thanks to a comprehensive 4-1 victory away to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday afternoon.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 1-4 FC Schalke 04

Goals: 0-1 Huntelaar (7'), 0-2 Choupo-Moting (14'), 1-2 Uth (41'), 1-3 Sane (56'), 1-4 Schär (o.g. 89')

Schalke announced immediately prior to kick-off that head coach Andre Breitenreiter would not be continuing next season, and his players subsequently began eager to give him a worthy farewell. The visitors were far more cohesive than their much-changed hosts and deservedly went ahead thanks to a superbly-executed Klaas-Jan Huntelaar volley. The Royal Blues doubled their advantage shortly afterwards through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's smart finish, but Mark Uth gave Hoffenheim hope before the break with a tap-in from close-range. 

Hoffenheim thought they had equalised early in the second half when Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann fumbled a routine save, but goal-line technology ruled the ball had not fully crossed the line. Leroy Sane put the game out of reach with a stunning solo goal, before a late own-goal by Fabian Schär put the seal on a win that lifted Schalke into fifth place.

Andre Breitenreiter prior to his final game as Schalke coach.

Man of the match

Sane was extraordinary here. The 20-year-old demonstrated the full range of his ability, terrorising the Hoffenheim defence with his pace, close control and body swerves. His goal was thoroughly deserved and the icing on the cake of an outstanding individual performance. 

Talking point

While it was a sad day for the departing Breitenreiter, he can leave with his head held high after this victory gave Schalke an automatic berth in next season's Europa League. 

Match stats

  • Choupo-Moting has scored in three of Schalke's last four games. 
  • Uth has scored seven of his eight league goals since Julian Nagelsmann took over as Hoffenheim head coach. 
  • The hosts covered 110 kilometres collectively; Schalke just 108 km.
  • The hosts covered 114.78 kilometres collectively; Schalke just 112.88 km.

Sane (c.) finds the net.

Line-ups

Hoffenheim: Grahl – Schär, Bicakcic, Strobl (Polanski 67') – Kaderabek, Rudy, Schwegler (c) (Kuranyi 60'), Elyounoussi – Uth, Kramaric, Volland (Amiri 74')

Coach: Julian Nagelsmann

Schalke: Fährmann (Nübel 90') – Höwedes (c), Matip, Neustädter, Kolasinac – Geis – Sane (Schöpf 72'), Meyer (Höger 85'), Choupo-Moting, Belhanda – Huntelaar

Coach: Andre Breitenreiter