Schalke made it five wins from five in the Europa League with an impressive victory over Ligue 1 leaders Nice. Mainz failed to beat St Etienne and are out of the competition.
Schalke 2-0 Nice
(Konoplyanka 14', Bentaleb 80')
Schalke defeated Nice with a goal in each half as they maintained their 100 percent record in this season's Europa League, despite Bernhard Tekpetey's late red card.
Nice, who are currently top of Ligue 1 in France, have been unable to replicate their domestic form in Europe, and their task was made even harder with the news that they would be without star striker Mario Balotelli, who pulled a calf muscle in training.
The Ruhr side were the better team throughout, and took the lead through Yevheniy Konoplyanka, who pounced on an error by Nice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale, who fumbled Max Meyer's shot.
Schalke threatened to add to their lead when half-time substitute Fabian Reese received a pass from Junior Caicara, but fired narrowly wide.
The second goal eventually came ten minutes from time when Nabil Bentaleb's deflected shot from the edge of the box looped over the head of Cardinale.
Tekpetey was shown a second yellow card late on but it mattered little as a convincing Schalke romped to their fifth successive win in this season's Europa League to go 11 games unbeaten in all competitions.
The victory was soured somewhat by an injury to Meyer, who admitted after the game that there was swelling on his ankle and that he would be a doubt for Sunday's home game against Darmstadt in the Bundesliga.
Bentaleb was also being treated for a suspected broken nose, suffered in the second half.
St Etienne 0-0 Mainz
Mainz are out of the Europa League after drawing a blank with St Etienne on a sodden night in France.
The Bundesliga side needed a victory to keep their hopes of making the last 32 alive, but they were frustrated by the French side.
In a less-than-thrilling contest, Yunus Malli had Mainz's best chance of the night, bending a free-kick around the wall but not getting beyond the home keeper, Stephane Ruffier.
As Mainz pushed forward in search of a late winner, St Etienne's Oussama Tannane almost settled it with a strong run and shot, but the ball bounced back off the far post.
Mainz cannot catch second place St Etienne, who go through by virtue of their stronger head-to-head record against Martin Schmidt's side.