Schalke earn hard-fought win at Hannover

FC Schalke 04 closed the gap on the UEFA Champions League places with a deserved 3-1 victory at relegated Hannover 96.

Hannover 96 1-3 FC Schalke 04

Goals: 0-1 Choupo-Moting (11'), 1-1 Sobiech (20'), 1-2 Huntelaar (45'), 1-3 Schöpf (80')

- © gettyimages / Stuart Franklin

The Royal Blues, who went into the game five points off fourth-placed Hertha Berlin, took the lead on eleven minutes when Leon Goretzka’s lofted ball over the top of the home defence was slotted home by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The hosts responded well, levelling the score just nine minutes later courtesy of Artur Sobiech’s close-range finish, but Klaas Jan Huntelaar restored the visitors’ lead on the stroke of the half time after combining well with Leroy Sane.

Undeterred, Daniel Stendel's side started the second period brightly and were unlucky not to restore parity for the second time in the match when Manuel Schmiedebach rattled the post from point-blank range. Schalke had the last laugh, however, as substitute Alessandro Schöpf slid into an empty net on 80 minutes following Joel Matip’s fine solo run to lift Andre Breitenreiter's charges to within a point of Hertha.

- © gettyimages / Stuart Franklin