Gelsenkirchen (Germany), Dec 19 (IANS) FC Schalke overcame relegation-threatened TSG Hoffenheim thanks to the winner by striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting at the opener of the 17th round in the Bundesliga here.
Schalke on Friday sealed their eighth win of the football season and increased Hoffenheim’s relegation worries. Choupo-Moting’s first-half goal was enough to edge the visitors, who pressed frenetically in the second-half, Xinhua reported. The hosts almost broke the deadlock with five minutes into the game but Leon Goretzka’s effort landed only in the side netting.
However, Schalke dictated the pace on the pitch whereas Hoffenheim lurked for counter attacks. As the match progressed at the Veltins-Arena, Schalke turned their dominance into a tangible reward as Choupo-Moting tapped home Johannes Geis’ cross into the box from very close range with 28 minutes into the game.
Andre Breitenreiter’s men took the lead into the break and tried to protect their lead to the end. Schalke’s strategy nearly got punished but Jonathan Schmid’s back heel effort missed the goal just wide in the 52nd minute. Hoffenheim’s chance was a wakening call for the hosts, who came close to double the lead as Sead Kolasinac shot on target struck the outside of the left post 12 minutes later.
Nevertheless, Hoffenheim squandered the golden opportunity to restore parity as Eduardo Vargas pulled over the crossbar despite having all time and space from promising position. The visitors pressed for the leveller but Schalke were able to run out the clock. With the result, Schalke climb to the fourth place whereas Hoffenheim are at the 17th place.