Schalke snatch thriller over Hannover
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP)
The season looked set to resume on a boring note after the winter break, until Schalke's Jefferson Farfan scored with one minute remaining in the first half.
But the second half produced a festival of goals, with Schalke taking a 2-0 lead, Hannover pulling level and Schalke taking 4-2 and 5-3 leads before Mame Diouf completed the scoring in the final minute with a spectacular overhead kick befitting the fireworks under the closed roof of Schalke's arena. Szabolcs Huszti had two goals for Hannover.
Schalke, one of the three Bundesliga clubs in the knockout stage of the Champions League, ended a six-match winless run. Once second in the standings, Schalke had fallen to seventh before jumping two places up provisionally with Friday's win.
Keller replaced Huub Stevens, who was fired at the end of the first half of the season. Keller's debut was a 2-1 loss at home by Mainz in the German Cup.
''For the fans, it was a spectacle, for me as coach, it wasn't that much fun,'' Keller said. ''It was important to get three points and now I can breathe a sigh of relief.''
Schalke won despite missing several regulars, including striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Hannover's leaky defense, the second worst in the league, was exposed again, but Schalke wasn't much better in the back, either.
''We are gifting too many goals,'' Hannover forward Jan Schlaudraff said.
Julian Draxler doubled Schalke's lead in the 49th, but Sergio Pinto and Huszti equalized with goals in the 55th and 59th minute, respectively.
Marco Hoeger and Ciprian Marica then restored a two-goal lead for Schalke by netting in the 64th and 67th, respectively.
Huszti struck again in the 68th, before Lewis Holtby secured the win in the 88th after a counterattack led by Farfan.
Holtby is due to leave for Tottenham and German media say he is close to leaving over the next few days, rather than waiting for the end of the season. Holtby declined to confirm his early move in interviews after the match.
''I just want to enjoy this now,'' he said.
Diouf, who had a missed a great chance to level the match at 4-4, got his goal in the final minute of play by scoring with an overhead volley from the edge of the penalty area.