American teenager Matthew Hoppe scored a hat-trick as Schalke thumped Hoffenheim 4-0 to end a run of 30 Bundesliga matches without victory.
All eyes were on Sead Kolasinac at kick-off, the Arsenal loanee returning to Schalke in their hour of need. The Bosnia-Herzegovina was visibly fired up for the occasion, forcing an early corner following a typically buccaneering run into opposition territory. His all-fired-up approach rubbed off on Amine Harit, who set up Hoppe for the game's first opening - an effort into the side netting. The Royal Blues were unrecognisable from the team that had failed to win in the Bundesliga since 17 January 2020, though they were indebted to goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann for keeping out efforts from Andrej Kramaric and Diadie Samassekou before getting their noses in front. Harit supplied the pass, Hoppe the audacious chipped finish.
Schalke's new-fangled duo combined to devastating effect once more after the restart. Benjamin Stambouli acted as the catalyst for a flowing move with a heart-on-the-sleeve challenge in his own half. Harit was the all-important provider, his slick pass in behind Stefan Posch finding Hoppe, who rounded Oliver Baumann and tucked home to give the hosts' daylight. The 19-year-old was California dreaming past the hour as he collected from Harit to complete his hat-trick with a wonderfully composed finish. Fährmann denied Kramaric a route back into the contest at close quarters, before Harit put the seal on a deserved win to stave off an ignominious record-equalling 31st match without victory, and lift Die Knappen off the foot of the standings.
Watch: Hoppe's hat-trick against Hoffenheim!
- Tasmania Berlin retain the record for most games without victory in the Bundesliga (31), but Schalke's barren spell ranks as the longest at 359 days.
- Schalke also ended a run of 26 matches without a clean sheet. The Royal Blues had only scored eight goals before the Hoffenheim win.
- Kolasinac made his first Bundesliga appearance in 1337 days. Schalke have won 48 league games with him in the side, compared to 24 without.
- Hoffenheim have lost four of their last five Bundesliga games, and are the last remaining Bundesliga team without a clean sheet in 2020/21.
- Hoppe was making his fifth Bundesliga appearance. He's the first Schalke player to score a Bundesliga hat-trick since Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting on 6 December 2014, and their youngest ever. He's also the Bundesliga's first American hat-trick scorer.
- Harit registered a hat-trick of assists, having set up one goal in his previous nine outings of the campaign. His goal was his first in 22 Bundesliga matches (1740 minutes).
Watch: Hoppe: "I don't know how to feel!"
Schalke: Fährmann - Becker, Kabak, Nastasic, Kolasinac (c) - Stambouli, Serdar - Schöpf (Raman 68'), Harit (Kutucu 88'), Uth (Oczipka 73') - Hoppe (Thiaw 88')
Unused subs: Rönnow, Mendyl, Mercan, Bozdogan
Out: Bentaleb (not included), Boujellab (knock), Ludewig (foot), Mascarell (thigh), Paciencia (knee), Sane (knee), Skrzybski (knock)
Coach: Christian Gross
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) - Posch, Vogt, Bogarde - Samassekou (Adams 61'), Gacinovic, Baumgartner, John - Bebou, Belfodil (Adamyan 61'), Kramaric
Unused subs: Pentke, Brenet, Bruun Larsen, Dabbur, Beier, Geschwill, Amade
Out: Akpoguma (hamstring), Bicakcic (knee), Geiger (hamstring), Grillitsch (abdominal muscle), Hübner (ankle), Kaderabek (muscular), Nordtveit (thigh), Rudy (knee), Sessegnon (not included), Stafylidis (shoulder)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
Watch: Kolasinac: "A small but important step for us"