Schalke 04 closed in on a
Champions League place and pushed Hamburg SV towards the
Bundesliga relegation zone with a 3-1 win on Sunday.
Werder Bremen thumped Hannover 96 3-0 in the day's other game
with Claudio Pizarro, Sebastian Prodl and Markus Rosenberg
sharing the goals.
Schalke's win kept them fourth, which would earn a place in
the Champions League qualifying round next season, with 47
points, and moved them within one point of third-placed Borussia
Monchengladbach and a potential place in the group stage.
Borussia Dortmund, held 0-0 at Augsburg on Saturday, lead
with 56 points, five ahead of Bayern Munich who thumped
Hamburg, who have won only twice in eight outings since the
winter break, are 14th with 27 points, only three ahead of
Hertha Berlin in the relegation play-off spot.
Schalke effectively wrapped up victory by scoring three
times in the opening half-hour.
Teemu Pukki headed in on five minutes after Atsuto Uchida
pulled the ball back from the by-line and Hamburg's defenders
stood and watched.
Christoph Melder fired in from close range at a corner in
the 26th minute and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar won and converted a
penalty after 33 minutes, the Dutchman's 19th Bundesliga goal of
Gojko Kacar pulled one back just before half-time but it
proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
"Hamburg played better than us but we took our chances,"
Schalke coach Huub Stevens said.
"We can't afford to defend like that," said Hamburg's
Hannover had the better of the opening stages against Bremen
until Peru striker Pizarro swept home from close range following
a set piece for his 16th goal of the season.
Prodl headed in the second four minutes after the restart
and Pizarro set up the third for Rosenberg just before the hour.
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