Soccer

Huntelaar returns from injury, paces Schalke past Hamburger

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The Canadian Press
1/26/2014 3:10:55 PM
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BERLIN -- Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored on his return after five months out with injury in Schalke's 3-0 win at Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

The Dutch striker opened the scoring in the 34th minute when he got between two defenders to head Jefferson Farfan's cross past Hamburg goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny.

"Today was a lot of fun," said Huntelaar, who was making his first start since tearing a ligament in his right knee against Wolfsburg on Aug. 18.

"You could see how important he is to us, the qualities he brings the team," Schalke coach Jens Keller said.

Rafael van der Vaart almost provided an immediate response by Hamburg from a free kick, only to be denied by a fingertip save from Ralf Faehrmann, and Marcell Jansen's weak shot was no trouble for the Schalke goalkeeper a minute later.

Farfan made it 2-0 in the 53rd when Jansen left Felipe Santana's hopeful punt forward and the stranded Drobny failed to clear, giving the Schalke winger a simple finish into the empty net.

The Peruvian cut the ball back for Max Meyer to score on a counterattack three minutes later to complete an evening to forget for the home side.

"We were ice cool and we took our chances," Meyer said.

Hamburg, already hit by injuries, had to make two substitutions inside the opening half hour. Pierre-Michel Lasogga went off with an ankle problem to be replaced by Dutch striker Ola John -- who made his debut following his loan move from Benfica -- while defender Lam Zhi Gin went off on a stretcher.

Despite missing injured playmaker Julian Draxler, Schalke climbed to fifth, while Hamburg slipped into the relegation playoff place after its fourth loss in succession.

"People have been asking me where we're going to finish the season, and I've always said we have to fight against relegation," Hamburg coach Bert van Marwijk said.

Werder Bremen was held to a 0-0 draw by bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig earlier Sunday.

"From our point of view, the point is OK. It leaves us alive and still in the mix. The most important thing for me, however, was that we didn't concede," Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht said.

Following a first half of few highlights, Bremen midfielder Philipp Bargfrede came closest to scoring three minutes after the interval when he crashed his shot from distance off the right post.

Braunschweig goalkeeper Daniel Davari saved Aaron Hunt's effort shortly afterward, and Santiago Garcia's header from the resulting corner was cleared off the line.

Bremen winger Eljero Elia had a goal ruled out for offside in the 59th, though TV replays showed it was the wrong decision.

"It's very annoying," Bremen coach Robin Dutt said.

The result left Braunschweig two points adrift at the bottom, while Bremen was just four points above Hamburg.

Bayern Munich leads the table by 10 points from Bayer Leverkusen and can stretch its lead to 13 by winning its game in hand at Stuttgart on Wednesday.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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