The Dutch striker broke the deadlock before the interval for a dominant Schalke side, before goals from Jefferson Farfan and Max Meyer secured a deserved three points for the Royal Blues.
Boateng takes centre-stage
With none of the sides above them able to win on Saturday, Schalke made it clear from the off they were keen to take advantage. Kevin-Prince Boateng gave Hamburg a first serious warning after a some scintillating interplay between Meyer and Farfan left Boateng with only the goalkeeper to beat, but his right-footed effort failed to trouble Jaroslav Drobny.
Boateng, though fielded in an unfamiliar deep-lying midfield role at the Imtech Arena, was at the heart of all Schalke's promising play in the opening stages. Having already found the net twice with his head in the current season, the 26-year-old Ghana international offered further proof of his aerial prowess when he first nodded Sead Kolasinac's cross just wide before seeing another effort denied by Drobny.
Huntelaar breaks deadlock
Though possession was evenly-balanced, Schalke were the more dangerous side and a goal was only a matter of time for the visitors. Huntelaar duly scored it, with the 30-year-old doing well to head home Farfan's pinpoint ball from the right on his return after five months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Despite being behind, Hamburg started the second half confidently and carved out several half-chances, of which Ivo Ilicevic missed the most promising. Schalke, however, were never going to settle for a narrow lead and soon scored a second when Farfan made the most of an error in the HSV defence to slot the ball into an open net.
Meyer makes sure
Having regained control, Jens Keller's men upped the pressure and added a third to all but seal victory only three minutes later. Meyer left Drobny no chance with his deflected effort from Farfan's cutback, before Atsuto Uchida went close shortly afterwards, only to have his shot from tight angle denied by Drobny.
To their credit, Hamburg did not give in and almost grabbed a consolation ten minutes from time when Milan Badelj's curling strike from the edge of the box hit the top right corner of the woodwork, but it wasn't to be for Bert van Marwijk's men on a night to forget for the Red Shorts.
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