Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 moved up to second in the standings following a routine 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin.
Obasi on point
Chinedu Obasi set the ball rolling early in the first half, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sealing the deal against a decidedly ineffectual Hertha outfit seconds after the break.
Schalke quickly went to work on the out-of-form visitors as Julian Draxler tested Hertha debutant shot-stopper Rune Jarstein's mettle and 19-year-old Kaan Ayhan sent a terrific free kick against the crossbar. The Turkish international's inexperience very nearly came back to haunt him moments later, but Adrian Ramos could only lift the youngster's misplaced pass over the bar.
The Royal Blues were playing with a real spring in their step and made the most of their next opportunity. Sead Kolasinac's cross-field pass was taken down by Nigerian Obasi, who poked the ball past Nico Schulz and rounded Jarstein before tucking the ball into the gaping net with the game still only 16 minutes old.
Huntelaar strikes early
The visitors began to find more space in midfield as the half wore on, albeit without seriously testing Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann. Dropping a cool shoulder, Änis Ben-Hatira came as close as anyone to levelling matters, but his gutsy, long-range strike was always rising.
Some fans hadn't even returned to their seats when the home side doubled their lead 26 seconds into the second half. Obasi collected Leon Goretzka's pass to release Huntelaar who, on his supposed weaker left foot, displayed unerring accuracy to sink his 11th Bundesliga goal of the campaign.
Staring down the barrel of fourth successive defeat, Hertha head coach Jos Luhukay threw caution to the wind with the introduction of forward-thinking duo Alexander Baumjohann and Ronny. Neither could turn the tide, mind, with Joel Matip instead going within inches of supplying the decisive touch to a set-piece routine straight off the Schalke training ground.
Sebastian Langkamp thought he'd pulled a goal back with ten minutes still to play, only for the referee to sound his whistle after spotting a push from Peter Niemeyer in the box. To their credit, downtrodden Hertha kept plugging away as Ramos stabbed over from close range, but it was simply a case of far too little, far too late.
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