Schalke take lead in Bundesliga

Schalke took over the provisional lead in the Bundesliga with a 1-0

home victory over Mainz thanks to Jefferson Farfan’s early goal on

Friday.

Farfan scored after 12 minutes to give Schalke its

Bundesliga-best 10th win of the season, and Felix Magath’s team 34

points from 17 matches.

The Blues have a two-point lead over Bayer Leverkusen, which

can secure the symbolic fall champion title – winner of the

season’s first half – with a victory on Saturday against Borussia

Moenchengladbach.

Despite a third straight win, Magath wasn’t entirely

satisfied.

“We made things tough for them,” he said. “It would have been

good to use our chances to make things less exciting at the end.

After such a strong start, we had to have scored another goal. We

are missing the killer instinct.”

Mainz remained on 24 points for eighth place. And despite

five games without a victory Thomas Tuchel’s men are the best

promoted side in the league after the first half of the

season.

“We played our worst game of the season and we deserved to

lose. The entire team had a bad day,” Mainz captain Tim Hoogland

said. “This was just a bad game for us. And it’s disappointing to

go into the winter break with such a performance.”

Schalke nearly pulled ahead at home after 10 minutes but Ivan

Rakitic sent his header over the bar.

Farfan, however, passed in from the right wing and the ball

landed at 19-year-old Lewis Holtby, who returned ball into the area

to a streaking Farfan to sneak the ball around goalkeeper Heinz

Muller.

Heiko Westermann missed a golden chance to double the

advantage after 20 minutes. Rakitic’s corner kick struck the

crossbar a minute later. And Westermann again was just off-target

after 65 minutes.

And Muller made a final save in the final minute to keep his

team in the game.