Berlin: Nigerian forward Chinedu Obasi scored one goal and set up the other as Schalke beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 at home to move into provisional second place in the Bundesliga on Friday.
Obasi chested the ball past one defender, prodded it past another and then rounded the keeper before scoring from a tight angle in the 16th minute.
Seconds after the restart, Obasi set up Klaas Jan Huntelaar for the Dutchman's 11th goal from 13 games this season.
"That opened the door for us and we won the game convincingly," Schalke midfielder Max Meyer said.
Sebastian Langkamp thought he'd pulled one back with a header from a corner in the 81st, but the effort was ruled out for a foul, though TV replays failed to identify any infringement.
"It was a goal. I don't think it should have been ruled out," said Jos Luhukay, whose side lost four games in a row for the first time since he took over as coach.
Borussia Dortmund can reclaim second place by beating Stuttgart on Saturday.
"You always want to be ahead of Dortmund, especially if you're playing for Schalke," Meyer said.
His coach, Jens Keller, played down expectations, however.
"It's incredible what we've delivered already. If we manage third place it will have been a great season," Keller said.
Bayern Munich clinched the title in record time on Tuesday.