In Round 20's Sunday action, fourth-placed Schalke bossed Hannover at home. Earlier Augsburg finally got a first-division victory in Stuttgart, running out surprisingly easy 4-1 winners in a southern German battle.
Stuttgart came into the match keen to make amends after dropping their first two games in 2014. The hosts got off to the brighter start, with Mo Abdellaoue coming close on a handful of early chances.
Against the run of play, Augsburg opened the scoring in the 35th minute, when Arkadiusz Milik slotted in a cross from short range. Eight minutes later Andre Hahn caught the hosts out on the break and doubled the visitors’ advantage. 2-0 was the score at halftime, with Stuttgart fans booing their team off the pitch.
Their mood didn’t improve after the restart. In the 53rd minute, Vedad Ibisevic was shown a straight red card after making light-looking contact with Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker’s face. Stuttgart’s day was done, and Hahn bagged his brace three minutes later, finishing off a nifty counter-attack.
Konstantin Rausch gave the hosts a glimmer of hope when he scored just after the hour mark, but Tobias Werner snuffed it out shortly thereafter, completing the scoreline.
"We gave the game away in the ten minutes before the break," Stuttgart coach Thomas Schenider told reporters. "In the second half, we couldn't deal with going down and deserved to lose by this much."
The 4-1 win takes Augsburg up to eighth with 31 points, while Stuttgart stay fourteenth, only two points clear of the drop zone.
Schalke take care of business
In Sunday’s late match, fourth-place Schalke were seeking to keep pace at the top against Hannover, who were riding a two-game winning streak. But this was a very one-sided affair, with the Royal Blues penetrating Hannover’s penalty area at will.
It took 40 minutes, though, for Schalke to break the ice. Sead Kolasinac went on an extended run and squared back for Jefferson Farfan, who only needed to stick out his foot to put the hosts in front 1-0.
Schalke's second goal arrived just five minutes later. Atsuto Unchida put in a cross, and Klass-Jan Huntelaar let the ball run through to May Meyer. The 18-year-old was right on the mark.
In the second half, Schalke was content to protect their lead. Hannover’s attack never got going, so the hosts were able to coast to a 2-0 victory that was never in danger.
Schalke stay in fourth, two points behind their archrivals Dortmund. Hannover tread water in tenth place.