Schalke ended Stuttgart's winning streak, but their unbeaten run remains intact as they distanced themselves from relegation. Hannover, who lost their eighth straight, look likely to be headed to the second division.
Schalke 1-1 Stuttgart
(Belhanda 14' - Harnik 74')
Stuttgart's winning streak may have come to an end, but they came back to draw against Schalke in a tough away fixture. Jürgen Kramny's team did not let an early goal get them down, and their vigilance paid off. Bundesliga veteran Martin Harnik, making his first appearance since suffering a knee injury in November, found the second-half equalizer to extend Stuttgart's unbeaten run to eight games.
Trying to manage on multiple fronts, Andre Breitenreiter rotated pieces in his attack, including handing Alessandro Schöpf his first start Bundesliga of his career. An injury to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting undermined Breitenreiter's efforts, having to take off his forward and bring on Leroy Sane. Schalke did move forward better than they did in midweek, and Younes Belhanda rewarded their early attacking pressure.
Belhanda slid a ball over to Schöpf on the right wing, and once Przemyslaw Tyton came up with the save from his effort on goal, the Moroccan international headed the ball into an open net for his second goal in as many Bundesliga games.
The goal did not phase Stuttgart at all as they continued to march up the field. Daniel Didavi almost made Schalke beat themselves when he drew goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann off his line. Roman Neustädter cleared the ball right into Fährmann, and Junior Caicara had to come up with a goal line clearance to keep Schalke ahead.
Harnik finally rewarded Stuttgart's consistent pressure just three minutes after he came off the bench. Christian Gentner headed a corner kick low and forced a save from Fährmann, and Harnik was at the far-post to tap in the rebound. Stuttgart sealed the draw, their 18th point in their last eight Bundesliga matches, as they distanced themselves further from the relegation zone.
Hannover 0-1 Augsburg
Hannover's season has gone from bad to comically worse, as they lost their eighth straight match to remain winless in 2016. Augsburg's single goal came from a run forward from Koo Ja-Cheol, which only came after a collision between Hiroki Sakai and Uffe Bech. Completely uncontested on the left wing, Koo had time to collect himself before finishing past a defenseless Ron-Robert Zieler in goal.
The one-goal margain allowed Augsburg to absorb pressure from Hannover for the rest of the game, conserving energy ahead of their trip to Liverpool in the Europa League next week. Hannover did test Markus Weinzierl's side a handful of times, with Marwin Hitz having to make six saves in the match, but Hannover left the field goalless for the third straight match.
With just one goal in 2016, Hannover look more and more like a club heading to the second division. Thomas Schaaf has yet to make the impact the club was hoping for when he took over from Tayfun Korkut in December, as Hannover have remained in the cellar of the Bundesliga since his appointment.