In-form Schalke climbed to second place in the Bundesliga standings – the first time the Royal Blues have been that high since November 2012 – by virtue of a workmanlike 2-0 win against Hamburg on Matchday 12 at the Veltins Arena.
Schalke 2-0 Hamburg
Goals: 1-0 Di Santo (pen. 17') 2-0 Burgstaller (77')
Belying their lowly position in the table, Hamburg began well, with Filip Kostic a threat on the left, although the visitors failed to create any noteworthy chances in the first quarter-hour. That lack of creativity was punished once Schalke hit their stride, Franco Di Santo coolly converting from the spot in the 17th minute after Yevhen Konoplyanka had been brought down inside the box. Going a goal to the good played into Schalke's game plan; thereafter, the Royal Blues were in control and unthreatened, although – one Thilo Kehrer header aside – Domenico Tedesco's side failed to fashion any opportunities in front of goal to add to the lead before the break.
Just as they had in the first half, Hamburg came out aggressively after the restart. Charging forward from right-back, Dennis Diekmeier was denied a first-ever Bundesliga goal by Kehrer's goal-line clearance, before Aaron Hunt spurned the visitors' best chance of the game in the 51st minute, sending his low shot onto the post from just inside the box after good work by Jann-Fiete Arp on the Hamburg right. As HSV continued to push for an equaliser, however, spaces opened up behind their defence. It took until the closing stages for Schalke to take advantage, but when Daniel Caligiuri drove into the box and the ball was worked to Guido Burgstaller, the Austrian made no mistake, his cool back-post finish sending Schalke to second in the Bundesliga standings.
Man of the match
Full of confidence after scoring his first international goal on his USA debut in midweek, Weston McKennie ran the show for Schalke in midfield. The 19-year-old is growing in stature with every passing game and – as well as his customarily tenacious defensive work, McKennie displayed plenty of attacking nous, too, and was unlucky not to score his first Bundesliga goal.
- Schalke are unbeaten in the last six Bundesliga games (W4 D2) - their longest run of 2017.Di Santo's goal was his first in the Bundesliga since March 2016, a run of 1054 minutes without finding the net.Schalke have been awarded the most penalties in the Bundesliga this season – five. That's one more than the Royal Blues were given in the entirety of last season.The last time Schalke were second in the Bundesliga was November 2012, after Matchday 12 of the 2012/13 season.
Watch: Di Santo reflects on Hamburg win
Schalke: Fährmann (c) – Stambouli, Naldo, Kehrer – Caligiuri, Meyer (Nastasic 90'), McKennie, Oczipka – Konoplyanka (Schöpf 87'), Di Santo (Embolo 46') – Burgstaller
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Hamburg: Mathenia – Diekmeier, Mavraj, Papadopoulos , Douglas – Sakai (c) (Wood 69'), Jung – Ito (Waldschmidt 35'), Hunt, Kostic (Hahn 83') - Arp
Coach: Markus Gisdol