Schalke put a six-point buffer between themselves and the relegation play-off with a 1-0 win at Hannover, leaving their hosts rooted to the foot of the Bundesliga with seven games of the season to go.
Goals: 0-1 Serdar (39')
It was a fiery opening, typical of a relegation battle in the closing stages of a season. The flow of play was interrupted by frequent challenges and it was not until the 12th minute that the first chance was created, Matija Nastasic heading Sebastian Rudy's free-kick wide. At the other end, Hendrik Weydandt fizzed in a shot which Alexander Nübel dealt with well before Genki Haraguchi just missed the target. Hannover were enjoying a promising spell, but Schalke responded and, five minutes before the break, took the lead through a well-taken Suat Serdar strike.
The hosts came out fighting in the second half and Nicolai Müller headed wide before Linton Maina was the next to miss the target. Like in the first half, Schalke grew as the game progressed, but Hannover had the energy to raise their own game and, with the adrenaline pumping, they went the closest they had come to levelling with Florent Muslija's effort clipping the crossbar. Nübel pulled off another outstanding save to deny Müller as Hannover doubled their efforts to level, Haraguchi once again going close, but not close enough for the Lower Saxony club, who remain rooted to the foot of the table.
- Hannover have conceded a league-high 62 goals after 17 matches.
- Serdar's goal was his first for Schalke, in his 29th appearance and with his 52nd shot.
- Schalke led at half-time for the first time in 2019.
- Each time Schalke have led at the break this season – on four occasions – they have gone on to win.
- Sebastian Rudy made his 250th Bundesliga appearance.
- New Schalke coach Huub Stevens has never lost a league match in Hanover (three wins, five draws).
- The 65-year-old celebrated his 100th Bundesliga victory as a coach.
Watch: Serdar on the "indescribable" feeling of scoring for Schalke!
Hannover: Esser – Sorg (Muslija 46'), Anton, Wimmer, Albornoz (Felipe 61') – Haraguchi, Bakalorz (c), Schwegler, Maina (Asano 75') – Weydandt, Müller
Unused subs: Sahin-Radlinger, Korb, Fossum, Bech
Out: Akpoguma (shoulder), Bebou (thigh), Elez (groin), Füllkrug (knee), Hübers (knee), Ostrzolek (ribs), Sarenren Bazee (shin), Wood (kidney problems)
Coach: Thomas Doll
Schalke: Nübel – Bruma, Sane, Nastasic – Rudy (Kutucu 71'), Stambouli (c), Mascarell, Oczipka – Serdar - Uth, Embolo (Konoplyanka 90')
Unused subs: Langer, Mendyl, Riether, Teuchert, Boujellab
Out: Bentaleb (not considered), Burgstaller (dental surgery), Caligiuri (ankle), Fährmann (groin), Harit (ankle), McKennie (ankle), Schöpf (knee)
Coach: Huub Stevens