The Dutchman struck in the 37th-minute - his sixth goal in as many games against Augsburg - following a sensational run and delivery from Atsuto Uchida to make it two home wins from two in the Bundesliga for new Schalke coach Roberto Di Matteo.
Visitors on top
After Matchday 9’s defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Di Matteo may have felt that no midweek DFB Cup encounter was a blessing in disguise, allowing him a week to work with his new charges. Unfortunately for the 44-year-old, the best-laid plans often go awry, and when Julian Draxler was forced to leave the field after four minutes, the Veltins Arena faithful were right to fear that their Halloween could be more trick than treat.
Augsburg took advantage of Draxler’s departure to dominate the opening half-hour. Abdul Rahman Baba had the run of the left-flank, while Daniel Baier, Halil Altintop and Alexander Esswein were giving Markus Weinzierl reason to believe his men could pick up their first-ever win in Gelsenkirchen. Raul Bobadilla and Tobias Werner’s long-range efforts underlined their control of proceedings before, in the 33rd-minute, Altintop found Dominik Kohr, who scuffed his lines in front of goal.
Huntelaar on target
Two minutes later, Werner’s snapshot from the edge of the box just shaved the post, but it was Schalke, against the run of play, who opened the scoring in the 37th-minute. Uchida nicked the ball inside his own half, powering down the wing to perfectly pick out Huntelaar, who made no mistake to score his fourth of the season. The goal stung the visitors, who were lucky to escape further punishment through Chinedu Obasi before the break.
Unlike the opening stages of the first-half, Augsburg enjoyed nowhere near as much control after the restart. Indeed, although Uchida was called into action in the 47th-minute to prevent a counter-attack, he was more involved going forward, as Schalke’s defensive midfield duo of Jan Kirchhoff and Marco Höger prevented the Függerstädter gaining any sort of foothold.
More trick than treat
The hosts almost doubled their lead on the hour mark as lovely link-up play from Huntelaar and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting created an opening for Dennis Aogo, whose shot was blocked. Five minutes later, former Schalke man Altintop came close from the edge of the box, drawing a good save from Fährmann.
Augsburg ramped up the pressure in the final quarter of an hour, with chances from substitutes Erik Thommy and Tim Matavz, but another excellent rearguard display from Di Matteo’s men ensured that the three points remained at the Veltins Arena - and that Halloween was more treat than trick for those of a Royal-Blue persuasion.
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