Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 cemented third spot in the table with a dramatic last-minute victory at home to Hertha Berlin.
Goals: 1-0 Höwedes (27'), 1-1 Kalou (73'), 2-1 Meyer (90')
The hosts were looking to make amends for a 3-0 defeat to 1.FC Köln in their last home fixture and got off to a sprightly start, as both Leon Goretzka and Franco di Santo went close with headers in the opening ten minutes. Hertha were dealt a hammer blow in the 18th minute as Vedad Ibisevic was shown a straight red after scything down Max Meyer, and less than ten minutes later, Schalke then took the lead through captain Bendedikt Höwedes. The World Cup winner was left in acres of space in the area and rose to plant home a header following a corner from Johannes Geis. It was no less than Schalke deserved, as they dominated proceedings in the first half, although the 1-0 scoreline represented the first time since March that they had led at the break in a home match.
After the restart, Goretzka had another chance to open his account for the season but Hertha keeper Rune Jarstein pulled off a great save from his close range header. The home side created several good opportunities as the game progressed and Jarstein was called into action on several occasions. The visitors almost drew level with a rare foray forward in the 67th minute, but Mitchell Weiser’s long-range effort rebounded off the post. Schalke were then punished for their profligacy as Hertha did equalise in the 73rd minute, with Salomon Kalou's diving header leaving Ralf Fährmann with no chance.
Schalke huffed and puffed and finally got their reward in stoppage time as Meyer was on hand to prod home and provoke wild scenes of celebration at the VELTINS Arena.
Man of the match
Johannes Geis gave an assured performance pulling the strings in defensive midfield. Once again, he proved how much of a threat he is from set-pieces as his pin-point corner found Höwedes to open the scoring.
The last-minute drama sent Schalke players and fans into ecstasy and could give everyone concerned with the club the belief that they are genuine contenders this season.
- It was the third time already this season that Schalke scored following a Johannes Geis corner
- Hertha’s equalizer was the first time they had scored at Schalke since 13 November 2004
- Kalou’s goal was the first time Schalke had conceded from a header this season
Schalke: Fährmann - Riether, Höwedes, Matip, Aogo - Goretzka (Höjbjerg, 76'), Geis - Sane, Meyer, Choupo-Moting - di Santo
Hertha: Jarstein - Weiser, Langkamp, Lustenberger, Plattenhardt - Haraguchi (Hegeler, 81'), Darida, Skjelbred, Cigerci (Baumjohann, 46') - Kalou (Brooks, 90+1'), Ibisevic