Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's first goal for Schalke since his January return was not enough for the Royal Blues as Lucas Alario grabbed his 10th of the season and Patrik Schick added another for Bayer Leverkusen to beat Schalke and earn three points in Hannes Wolf's first game in charge.
Interim Leverkusen coach Hannes Wolf made six changes for his first time in charge of the club since taking the reins from Peter Bosz. The hosts had the better of the possession to start the Wolf era, but the best chance of the game fell Huntelaar's way in his first start since returning for Schalke. He was on the end of Mehmet Aydin's cross to the near post but headed over the bar in front of Lukas Hradecky from just a couple of yards out. Leverkusen remained on top and the first goal under Wolf came just 26 minutes in. Kerem Demirbay's first touch took him past Aydin and into the Schalke area and his low cross was put home on the slide by Alario. Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the first half, with Leverkusen not allowing Schalke to work a way back into the game before the break.
As was the case in the first 45 minutes, the Royal Blues had the best chance of the second half when the away side won possession back in Leverkusen's half. Amine Harit's shot that followed was sent high over Hradecky's crossbar, however. Wendell fired a shot wide across goal minutes later as Leverkusen woke up into the restart. Schalke's bright started continued, though, and Hunteelar thought he had his first goal since returning to the club as he poked home Can Bozdogan's pass across goal, but Harit was just offside in the build-up. Leverkusen put to rest any hope of a Schalke comeback with less than 20 minutes to play as substitutes combined with Schick sent through by Florian Wirtz and his low shot across goal from the edge of the area was too strong for Fredrik Rönnow. Just as the game looked beyond Schalke, Huntelaar pulled one back. The Dutchman controlled Bozdogan's next cross on his chest before volleying past Hradecky. Schalke piled on the pressure towards the end but Huntelaar's late goal proved to be just a consolation at the BayArena.
- Alario's goal was his 10th of the campaign and a new personal record for the Argentinian in the German top-flight.
- Schick has now scored three goals in his last four Bundesliga games. He's scored seven of his last eight in the league with his favoured left foot.
- Huntelaar scored his first Bundesliga goals since 23 April 2017, 1,441 days ago. At the age of 37 years and 234 days, the Dutch striker is now Schalke's oldest goalscorer in the top flight.
- Sven Bender is unbeaten in 12 Bundesliga matches this season, while twin brother Lars has lost just one of his 13 outings.
- Schalke scored their first goal under head coach Dimitrios Grammozis.
- Schalke are winless in their last 24 away matches in the Bundesliga.
Watch: Hradecky: "I was jumping like a little kid"
Leverkusen: Hradecky - Tah, S. Bender, Tapsoba - Bellarabi (Frimpong 82'), Palacios, Aranguiz (Wirtz 60'), Wendell - Demirbay (Bailey 67'), Amiri (Diaby 82') - Alario (Schick 67')
Unused subs: Grill, Dragovic, Jedvaj, Gray
Out: Arias (ankle), Baumgartlinger (knee), L. Bender (knee), Fosu-Mensah (knee), Sinkgraven (thigh)
Coach: Hannes Wolf
Schalke: Rönnow - Becker, Stambouli, Thiaw - Aydin (Schöpf 74'), Mascarell, Kolasinac (c), Calhanoglu (Bozdogan 46') - Serdar (Paciencia 74'), Harit - Huntelaar
Unused subs: Langer, Oczipka, Pavlidis, Raman, Hoppe
Out: Bentaleb (groin), Boujellab (ankle), Ludewig (foot), Mendyl (ankle), Nastasic (calf), Sane (knee), Skrzybski (knee)
Coach: Dimitrios Grammozis
Watch: Wolf: "I'm very satisfied with the three points"