28 March 2014 22:26
Schalke beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 on Friday to continue their fine recent home form and cement a UEFA Champions League qualification spot.
Jens Keller’s side have now not lost any of their last nine Bundesliga outings at the Veltins-Arena, winning all but one, and sit 10 points clear of fifth-placed Wolfsburg – who host a resurgent Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Chinedu Obasi was the star of the show, scoring the game’s opening goal in the first half before assisting Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s effort almost immediately after the half-time interval.
Keller named a youthful side and it was one of the younger players in the side, Kaan Ayhan, in the thick of the early action.
The 19-year-old defender almost opened his account for the club nine minutes in, only to see his curling free-kick come back off the post, but the Turkey Under-21 international nearly gifted Hertha an early goal, however Adrian Ramos could not capitalise on his slip-up.
Schalke did go ahead in the 16th minute though, Obasi pouncing on some defensive uncertainty to round Hertha’s debutant goalkeeper Rune Jarstein and slot home his second goal of the season.
Anis Ben Hatira twice went close for the visitors as they sought a way back into the game, but they were stunned just 30 seconds into the second half as Schalke doubled their advantage.
Obasi was once again pivotal, surging through the midfield before slipping through Huntelaar who accurately finished first-time with his left foot.
Substitute Adam Szalai should have scored a third before Hertha defender Sebastian Langkamp saw a goal disallowed for a foul.
Schalke’s three points moves them into second place, while Hertha remain six points off the top six with a full weekend program to come as their hopes of a UEFA Europa League spot fade.