Julian Draxler (r.) threaded his finish through the Wolfsburg rearguard to put Schalke in front with just over half an hour played
Julian Draxler (r.) threaded his finish through the Wolfsburg rearguard to put Schalke in front with just over half an hour played

Blue riband win for Royal Blues

Munich - Schalke 04 found top gear to beat VfL Wolfsburg and move back into the top six, while FC Augsburg picked up three more crucial points in their battle against relegation at SV Werder Bremen. Elsewhere the spoils were shared at both Nuremberg and Hamburg.

VfL Wolfsburg 1-4 FC Schalke 04

Schalke confirmed their return to form with a crushing 4-1 win at struggling Wolfsburg. From the off, the visitors appeared keen to confirm their recent upward curve and an early opportunity went begging when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was denied by Diego Benaglio in the fifth minute.

Julian Draxler was the provider of that chance, and the diligent midfielder was at the heart of everything as Schalke caused confusion in the Wolfsburg rearguard.

Diligent Draxler

The Wolves went close through Simon Kjaer, who rattled the crossbar with a header, before Draxler put the Royal Blues ahead, picking his spot to perfection in the 33rd minute. The 19-year-old missed the chance to make it two just before half time when he dribbled round Benaglio only to shoot against the outside of the post, but he made amends with his next chance midway through the second half to put Schalke in front for a second time.

Ivica Olic had pulled a goal back for the hosts with a close-range header shortly after the restart, but it was only a rare punctuation in a strong Schalke success, sealed in style by Jefferson Farfan, unsurprisingly from Draxler’s assist, before Huntelaar got in on the act to pile the misery on Wolfsburg.

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1. FC Nuremberg 1-1 SC Freiburg

Freiburg were forced to come from behind again to snatch a point late on at Nuremberg in a 1-1 draw. The hosts weathered an early storm and went close to breaking the deadlock through Hanno Balitsch in the 18th minute.

That effort gave the home team heart and they went on to gain the lead from the penalty spot after Cedric Makiadi handled the ball inside the area. Timmy Simons stepped up to convert his sixth penalty from six in the Bundesliga.

Leaving it late, again

Freiburg had come from two goals down to topple Mainz in the DFB Cup on Tuesday and they showed similar second-half strength to peg Nuremberg back into their own half. Chances were nevertheless rare as the Bavarians defended well, even threatening a second on the counterattack.

When Christian Streich’s troops did get through, Jan Rosenthal curled his shot wide with only Raphael Schäfer to beat in the 78th minute. The warning was there for Nuremberg, but they could do nothing to prevent Freiburg from levelling seven minutes from time. Schäfer could only parry Julian Schuster’s shot and Jonathan Schmid was on hand to tuck the ball in and complete the second comeback in four days for Freiburg.

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Hamburger SV 1-1 SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Cellar-dwellers Greuther Fürth maintained their unbeaten record under interim head coach Ludwig Preis courtesy of a scrappy 1-1 draw in Hamburg. The hosts set the early tone, but after Marcell Jansen and Maximilian Beister both wasted clear-cut chances, it was they who fell behind when Nikola Djurdjic clipped Thomas Pledl's pass over the onrushing Rene Adler.

With Fürth sitting deep, the Red Shorts continued to throw numbers forward in search of an equaliser and they were duly rewarded when Beister found the top corner from Dennis Aogo's knockdown. HSV's dominance was unwavering as they maintained the pressure on Fürth's goal, but profligacy and an inspired Wolfgang Hesl prevented the hosts taking the lead.


It remained virtually one-way traffic after the break, but in keeping with Hamburg's performance, Rafael van der Vaart squandered a golden opportunity by firing straight at Hesl when unmarked ten yards from goal.

However, in and around the hour mark, it was Fürth who couldn't make the most of an extended period of pressure, as Stephan Fürstner twice failed to find the target from range either side of Djurdjic being denied by a last-ditch block from Slobodan Rajkovic. Both outfits went in search of a winner in the closing stages, but after Heung-Min Son's overhead was saved by Hesl and Marcus Berg fired wastefully wide, neither were able to claim all three points.

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SV Werder Bremen 0-1 FC Augsburg

Augsburg moved within six points of safety as Tobias Werner's header proved to be the winner against Bremen. The visitors started well as Dong-Won Ji drew an early save out of Sebastian Mielitz, yet the hosts soon began carving out their chances. Aaron Hunt fired wide before releasing Marko Arnautovic through on goal, but the Austrian could only muster a tame effort which was easily saved.

Somewhat against the run of play though, Augsburg broke the deadlock when Tobias Werder stooped to find the far corner with a diving header. Bremen's performance suffered little from the setback, but with the visitors keeping things tight at the back, Werder were left frustrated at failing to register before the break.

Knock, knock, knocking

Bremen continued enjoying the lion's share of possession in the physical encounter, yet it still seemed like Augsburg were controlling proceedings. Andre Hahn had Mielitz at full stretch to turn his long-range effort away from danger, but with niggling fouls creeping into the match, clear-cut chances were hard come by for both sides.

A goal down, Werder began throwing caution to the wind late on as they looked to exploit the space in behind Augsburg's backline. Hunt could only clip the top of the bar from de Bruyne's pin-point delivery, while Sokratis was first denied by Mohamed Amsif's superb reflexes before hitting the post, as Augsburg secured a crucial win.

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