Schalke 04 were aiming to put recent drubbings at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and Real Madrid in the Champions League behind them as they traveled to Augsburg on Friday night.
Ahead of the clash, Augsburg had been in a run of fine form with just one loss in their last 12 league games, propelling them to sixth spot in the Bundesliga table. Just 10 points separate second placed Borussia Dortmund and seventh placed FSV Mainz as a host of clubs battle for Champions League qualification.
The hosts got off to a dream start when Tobias Werner latched onto Schalke full back Tim Hoogland’s sloppy header and rifled a ferocious left-footed shot inside the corner to give the hosts the lead in the fifth minute. Augsburg dominated the opening stages but could not capitalize on their possession. Halil Altintop, Matthias Ostrzolek and Andre Hahn all squandered chances in the opening half hour.
But on the 30th minute goalkeeper Alex Manninger failed to hold onto an an ambitious long range shot from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar side-footed the rebound home.
Just three minutes into the second half, Huntelaar grabbed yet another goa.
Julian Draxler and Sead Kolasinac exchanged passes before Huntelaar simply slotted the ball in from five yards out. Schalke thought they had scored a third moments later, but Draxler was deemed offside.
Augsburg pressed in search of an equalizer but Schalke looked comfortable and held on to boost the Champions League qualification hopes.
Schalke now sit in third place, just one point behind second placed Dortmund and three points ahead of fourth placed Bayer Leverkusen. All other Bundesliga games take place on Saturday, with Leverkusen travelling to the Allianz Arena in Munich in a bid to stop the Bayern juggernaut.
Schalke head to the Bernebeau to face the formidable Real Madrid on Tuesday night in the second leg of their Round of 16 game. They are 6-1 down from the 1st leg. The 6-1 first-leg defeat was Schalke's biggest European loss.