Bundesliga: Hoffenheim v Schalke
Last Updated: 04/10/14 6:29pm
Hoffenheim moved up to second in the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Schalke, who followed up their midweek 1-1 Champions League draw with Maribor with a defeat which erases memories of their derby win over Dortmund a week ago.
Tarik Elyounoussi and Adam Szalai gave Hoffenheim a two-goal lead at the interval which could have been even greater had it not been for the heroics of goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann.
After losing Joel Matip to a red card, Schalke did find a goal through Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, but they were unable to find an equaliser as they were left empty-handed at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
With 90 Champions League minutes in their legs from Tuesday, the best thing Schalke could have got was an early goal and they probably should have when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had only Oliver Baumann to beat within the first minute, but the Cameroonian failed to get past the Hoffenheim number one.
A similar gilt-edged opportunity presented itself for former Schalke forward Szalai at the other end, but he was denied by the foot of Fahrmann.
Not long after, Hoffenheim took the lead with Roberto Firmino squaring for Elyounoussi to tap into the empty net.
Firmino went close himself before turning provider once again for Szalai to get the goal he was looking for against the club he represented only months ago.
The Hungarian this time got the better of Fahrmann in the next one-on-one situation, and Hoffenheim had a two-goal cushion after less than half an hour.
Fahrmann denied Firmino, who was proving a real handful for a tired and weary Schalke defence, before he was beaten by Szalai, but was saved by two covering defenders.
The flow of the game was broken up by a series of fouls and the yellow cards also started to arrive with Matip receiving two within five minutes to be given his marching orders.
With a man down, the Royal Blues actually posed more of a threat and they pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute when Atsuto Uchida's cross was converted by Huntelaar.
Jens Keller's men had seven minutes to find an equaliser, but rarely did they get into position to do so as Hoffenheim held on to all three points and their unbeaten record this season without running any risks.