FC Schalke 04 ended a five-game wait for a win by beating Hannover 96 3-1 at the VELTINS Arena on Friday night.
FC Schalke 04 3–1 Hannover 96
Goals: 1-0 Geis (51' pen.), 2-0 Huntelaar (72'), 2-1 Saint-Maximin (81'), 3-1 Di Santo (82')
Johannes Geis was back from suspension and it was from his free-kick that panic was spread in the Hannover penalty area for the first time after 15 minutes. Artur Sobiech was left on the floor when the danger was cleared, and his evening ended there due to injury, Charlison Benschop taking his place. He did not see much of the ball, though, as Schalke continued to horde it at the other end of the field, where Leroy Sane's trickery was causing plenty of problems. He, Max Meyer and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar all huffed and puffed at Ron-Robert Zieler, but failed to blow the Hannover door down.
Marcelo did the Royal Blues a favour five minutes into the second half when he hauled Huntelaar down, and Geis was the man to take the penalty-taking responsibility, sweeping in his first goal for Schalke. Marcelo's misery was compounded when he deflected Meyer's cross on a plate for Huntelaar, whose side-foot volley from close range gave Schalke a cushion, and it was necessary too. After Kenan Karaman hit the post, Allan Saint-Maximin reduced the arrears with a fine strike, only for Franco Di Santo to head in an instant third to settle Schalke's nerves and seal victory.
Man of the match
When Leroy Sane has the ball at his feet, you can hear the clunking of seats as the crowd stand up to take note. The anticipation of something about to happen is quite justifiable too, with his many refined touches and turns of pace running the Hannover defence ragged and setting up chance after chance for Schalke.
With an average of 0.5 points per game without Johannes Geis on the field, and 1.9 with him on it, Schalke would have been happy to see the former 1. FSV Mainz 05 man back in their line-up after suspension. His penalty also saw him open his account for the Royal Blues, and what a time to do it – earning three points which ended Schalke's five-game wait for a win, four of which he was unavailable for.
- Schalke may have been relieved to have Geis back from suspension – in the four games he missed, they picked up just two points from a possible 12.Hannover covered 51 km in the first 40 minutes – one more than Schalke as they chased the ball.Schalke had more shots in the first half (15) than in any other half of a game this season.Marcelo became the first player to give away three penalties in the Bundesliga this season.Huntelaar netted his 73rd goal for Schalke, moving level with Ebbe Sand as the club's second most prolific player.Saint-Maximin scored with only his third shot in the Bundesliga.
Schalke: Fährmann - Riether, Höwedes (c), Matip, Aogo – Geis (Kolasinac, 88'), Goretzka - Sane, Meyer (Höjbjerg, 78'), Choupo-Moting – Huntelaar (Di Santo, 77')
Hannover: Zieler - Sorg, Marcelo, Schulz (c), Albornoz – Schmiedebach (Saint-Maximin, 62'), Sane – Andreasen (Prib, 77'), Gülselam, Karaman – Sobiech (Benschop, 16')