Eduard Löwen's stunning free-kick, Noel Sarenren Bazee's first Bundesliga goal and a late effort from substitute Sergio Cordova ended Augsburg's six-game winless run whilst extending Schalke's to nine at the Veltins-Arena on Sunday.
Augsburg needed just six minutes to break the deadlock. Alessandro Schöpf upended Rani Khedira on the edge of the Schalke area, leaving Löwen to whip the ball beautifully over the wall and into the top corner from the ensuing free-kick. Despite the early set-back, Schalke dominated for large periods for much of the half, albeit creating only one scoring chance of note. Former Manchester City player Rabbi Matondo used his pace to drive in off the left flank and into the Augsburg box, but Andreas Luthe got down well to the Welshman's close-range effort.
Roles were revered after the restart as Augsburg took the initiative. Florian Niederlechner brought a strong save from Markus Schubert, with Marco Richter following suit just past the hour. Schubert made a flying stop from a trademark Philipp Max free-kick, before Augsburg-owned forward Michael Gregoritsch sent a header wide with Schalke's clearest opening of the second period. It proved a costly miss as Augsburg substitute Sarenren Bazee made the most of some lax defending, before slotting beyond Schubert. Cordova's injury-time strike put the seal on Heiko Herrlich's first win as coach, with Augsburg moving seven points clear of the relegation play-off spot as a result.
- Augsburg had lost their last five away games in a row, failing to score in four.
- Augsburg have now scored four direct free-kicks in the Bundesliga this season - the most of any club, with Löwen hitting his first today and Max scoring the other three.
- Bazee opened his Bundesliga account on his 19th top-flight appearance.
- Six of Cordova's seven Bundesliga goals have come from the bench. The Venezuelan is now Augsburg's record substitute goalscorer.
- Schalke remain on the longest winless run of any Bundesliga team.
- The Royal Blues have suffered more defeats in nine Rückrunde matches (five) than in 17 during the first half of the season (three)
Watch: Löwen: "I invest a lot of time in practicing free-kicks"
Schalke: Schubert - Kenny, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka - McKennie (Mercan 73'), Serdar (Kutucu 56') - Caligiuri (c) Boujellab (76'), Schöpf - Matondo (Raman 76'), Gregoritsch
Unused subs: Nübel, Miranda, Kabak, Burgstaller, Thiaw
Out: Harit (ligament), Mascarell (groin), Stambouli (match fitness), Todibo (ankle)
Coach: David Wagner
Augsburg: Luthe - Framberger, Jedvaj, Uduokhai, Max - Gruezo (Oxford 83'), Khedira (c) - Richter, Löwen (Moravek 70'), Vargas (Sarenren Bazee 59') - Niederlechner (Cordova 83')
Unused subs: Koubek, Lichtsteiner, Suchy, Gouweleeuw, Baier
Out: Finnbogason (knee), Giefer (foot), Schieber (calf)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Watch: Kenny: "If you don't score, you don't win games"
Der Klassiker: AWS Match Facts analysis
Mane the Finisher against Ball Winner Schlotterbeck, and old friends turned rivals in Bellingham and Musiala... who will prevail?
Leverkusen vs. Schalke: team news
Xabi Alonso takes charge of his first Bayer Leverkusen game at home to Schalke on Saturday.
Matchday 9 probable teams
Marco Reus will likely miss out, but Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich are hopeful of returning for Der Klassiker.