AFP/ Berlin, Germany
An early goal from birthday boy Suat Serdar secured Schalke a 1-0 home victory over Augsburg on Sunday, just a second Bundesliga win of the season for the Royal Blues.
Serdar was able to pounce on a rare mistake from Augsburg goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz in the fourth minute, poking the ball home after the Pole spilled a tame cross from Can Bozdogan. It was Schalke’s first home goal in six matches.
From there, Schalke continued to attack, almost doubling their lead in the ninth minute when former Real Madrid, Ajax and AC Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar dragged his left-foot shot just wide of the post.
After the break, Augsburg striker Marco Richter — who struck a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw between the teams in December — had two clear-cut chances to equalise, including a superb 77th-minute bicycle kick which was denied by returning Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann.
The victory saw Schalke move to 13 points and avoid a number of unwanted records, including fewest points (10) and fewest wins (one) in a Bundesliga season, both of which remain the property of Tasmania Berlin from the 1965-66 campaign.
The win may also keep some faint mathematical hopes alive of avoiding relegation, although Schalke remain 13 points from safety with just six games left.
Leandro Barreiro’s stunning stoppage-time winner earned Mainz 05 crucial three points in the relegation battle as they came from behind in the second half to beat Cologne 3-2 at the Rhein Energie stadium.
The result lifted Mainz up to 14th in the table, five points clear of 17th-placed Cologne in the automatic relegation spot.
Cologne remain three points off Arminia Bielefeld in the playoff position.
n Schalke 1 (Serdar 4) Augsburg 0
n Cologne 2 (Duda 43-pen, Skhiri 61) Mainz 3 (Boetius 11, Onisiwo 65, Barreiro 90+2)
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