Schalke bounce back


Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hit a hat-trick as Schalke bounced back from their Champions League humiliation by thumping Mainz 4-1 at the Arena AufSchalke. The Dutchman put the hosts two up before Shinji Okazaki's effort on the stoke of half-time got Mainz back into the match. But Tranquillo Barnetta added a third for Schalke and Huntelaar completed his treble as Roberto Di Matteo's men provided the best possible response to their critics. The pressure was on the Royal Blues after they had been booed off by the own fans following their 5-0 home defeat by Chelsea in midweek, a loss described by their general manager Horst Heldt as “embarrassing'' and “unacceptable''. Huntelaar eased the nerves with an eighth-minute opener, beating Loris Karius with a shot from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's knock down. Max Meyer nearly added a spectacular second as he dribbled his way through but shot straight at Karius, while Marco Hoger shot over, just moments after Koo Ja-cheol had wasted the chance to equalise when one-on-one with Ralf Fahrmann. Meyer teed up Huntelaar to make it two for midway through the first half, the striker leaving Karius no chance with his left-footed shot. Schalke would have been well advised not to get complacent since they almost threw away a three-goal advantage at home to Wolfsburg a week ago and the alarm bells would have been ringing when Okazaki reduced the arrears just before half-time. But this time substitute Barnetta restored the two-goal lead 10 minutes into the second half with a fine finish from distance. Huntelaar then completed his hat-trick with another cool finish to make sure of the points, Choupo-Moting again the provider. Mainz tried to make a game of it still, but Fahrmann was in impeccable form, denying Koo and Johannes Geis to help Schalke clinch victory.