The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Schalke beats Wolfsburg 2-1 to climb 4th in Bundesliga, Hamburg's crisis continues
BERLIN - Kevin-Prince Boateng scored late for Schalke to beat Wolfsburg 2-1 and move fourth in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while Hamburger SV slipped further into crisis with a 3-0 loss at Hoffenheim.
Boateng scored in the 81st minute following some good interplay between Leon Goretzka and Roman Neustaedter, restoring the home side's lead after Maximilian Arnold equalized for 10-man Wolfsburg in the 65th.
Felipe Santana opened the scoring in the ninth, when Boateng's effort rebounded off his shoulder and squirmed inside the post after a corner.
Wolfsburg's task was made more difficult when midfielder Daniel Caligiuri was sent off in the 50th. TV replays suggested he had made a remark to the linesman.
"I'm delighted with the win," Boateng said. "It was hugely important. The fans got to see a good match, they had to fret for a little bit, but that keeps us all young."
Borussia Moenchengladbach lost 3-1 at Hannover in the late game, missing out on the chance to reclaim fourth place.
"It's not undeserved, the 3-1," Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre said. "We lost the ball too often, didn't move enough. They played well, countered well, they're very dangerous here."
Artjoms Rudnevs opened the scoring in the 57th when Szabolcs Huszti crossed to the far post. It was the Latvian striker's second goal in as many games since switching from Hamburg.
Huszti also created Hannover's second in the 82nd, with another precise cross for Mame Biram Diouf.
Peniel Kokou Mlapa pulled one back two minutes later to set up a frenetic finish, but Diouf sealed the result in the 89th to maintain new Hannover coach Tayfun Korkut's winning start.
Earlier, Bayer Leverkusen left it late to come from behind and beat Stuttgart 2-1 and consolidate second place. Eren Derdiyok's 84th-minute header condemned Stuttgart to its fourth successive defeat.
Moritz Leitner opened the scoring for Stuttgart with a fine strike to the top left corner in the 12th, 14 minutes before Stefan Kiessling equalized by beating a defender and curling his shot inside the far post.
"It's like Groundhog Day for me," Stuttgart coach Thomas Schneider said. "We take the lead like in the last games and then give the game away. Altogether a bitter afternoon for us."
Mainz defeated Freiburg 2-0, and Augsburg beat 10-man Werder Bremen 3-1.
Hamburg, the only side to have played every season of the Bundesliga, offered little to suggest it would escape its first relegation in slumping to its fifth successive loss.
"Our biggest problem is that we're conceding goals too easily," said Hamburg coach Bert van Marwijk, whose side has the worst defence in the league.
Roberto Firmino fired Hoffenheim ahead in the fourth, though TV replays suggested a hint of offside when Kevin Volland played him through.
Poor defending allowed Niklas Suele to make it 2-0 with a header from Sejad Salihovic's cross at the end of the first half, and the visiting fans began leaving when Andreas Beck made it 3-0 on the hour.
Hamburg is in the relegation playoff place and will end the weekend in a direct relegation place if Nuremberg beats Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
"We're facing criticism, we're playing catastrophically. The coach can't do anything about that," Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart said. "We understand his system. It's the quality that's lacking at the end of the day."
Goals from South Koreans Park Joo-ho and Koo Ja-cheol in the 25th and 86th respectively were enough for Mainz to give Freiburg its 10th defeat of the season and leave it just one point ahead of Hamburg.
Augsburg's seven game unbeaten run is a club record.
It started badly against Bremen when Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker headed Zlatko Junuzovic's corner into his own net in the third minute, but Tobias Werner equalized with a deflected shot in the 11th, and the visitors were reduced to 10 men before the break when Santiago Garcia received his second yellow card for a lunge.
The Argentine was incensed with the decision after appearing to make no contact with Matthias Ostrzolek.
Halil Altintop gave Augsburg the lead with a fine volley in the 49th and Andre Hahn capitalized on a defensive mix-up to secure the win six minutes later.
Runaway league leader Bayern Munich hosts Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.
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