BERLIN (AP) — Schalke defeated Hannover 2-0 to maintain its perfect start to the year and consolidate fourth place in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Jefferson Farfan opened the scoring in the 39th, converting from close range after Sead Kolasinac outran Hannover defender Marcelo on the left.
Farfan instigated Schalke's second goal five minutes later, playing through a brilliant ball for Atsuto Uchida, who cut back for Klaas Jan Huntelaar and he in turn left it for the better positioned Max Meyer to stroke home.
Huntelaar headed over early in the second half and Meyer drew a good stop from Hannover 'keeper Ron-Robert Zieler as the home side came closest to adding to the scoreline.
"I think we played very well," Meyer said. "That's three wins from three since the winter break. I think the training camp together did us well. It brought us closer together as a team."
Schalke opened a four-point gap over Borussia Moenchengladbach to consolidate the last Champions League qualification place, while Hannover remains 10th after Tayfun Korkut's first defeat as coach.
"It's a shame we couldn't get a point here," Zieler said.
Already without injured captain Benedikt Hoewedes, Schalke has further concerns after defensive midfielder Roman Neustaedter went off with a knee injury in the first half, while Uchida went down clutching his knee late in the game.
Schalke hosts Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Feb. 26.