Huntelaar returns in style
Last Updated: 28/04/13 8:25pm
Tolgay Arslan tries to escape the challenge of Jermaine Jones
Klaas Jan Huntelaar made a stylish and effective return to the Schalke team with a hat-trick against Hamburg as the Royal Blues consolidated fourth place in the Bundesliga with a 4-1 victory.
The Holland striker, back in the side for the first time since a 2-1 derby win over Borussia Dortmund on March 9, set up the equaliser for Michel Bastos before scoring three himself after Marcell Jansen had headed HSV in front.
The win moved Schalke three points clear of fifth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt with four games left, while Hamburg remained a point behind the top six.
Hamburg, who could have swapped places with their hosts and moved to their highest position of the season with victory, enjoyed the perfect start as Jansen headed them into a fifth-minute lead.
Rafael van der Vaart's corner was met by Heiko Westermann at the far post and his header was perfect for full-back Jansen to nod past Roman Neustadter from the edge of the six-yard box.
Hamburg's lead lasted only four minutes, though, before Michel Bastos levelled.
Huntelaar laid the ball off to his team-mate, who picked his spot low in the bottom-left corner from just outside the penalty area to settle the nerves of the majority inside the Arena AufSchalke.
Julian Draxler then fed Huntelaar to put Schalke in front in the 21st minute, the Dutchman given an easy task of touching the ball over the line.
The hosts soon took charge of the game after taking the lead and Rene Adler did well to prevent Michel Bastos from making it three in the 36th minute as Hamburg held on to trail by only one goal at the break.
Huntelaar needed just 13 minutes of the second half to grab his second and Schalke's third, however, with a fine diving header from Raffael's cross.
And he completed his hat-trick, and Schalke's win, in the 66th minute with another display of aerial strength, capitalising on a mistake by Adler to nod into an open goal and wrap up the emphatic victory.