Resurgent Schalke Rout French For Top Spot


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Germany U-21 international defender BENEDIKT HOEWEDES (4) watches as Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen’s Germany World Cup goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER punches the ball to safety ahead of Olympique Lyon’s Argentina international striker LISANDRO LOPEZ (9), transferred from Portuguese club FC Porto for 24.0 million Euro in July of 2009, at the Veltins Arena in North-Rhine Westphalia. (Martin Meissner/AP)
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SCHALKE 04 GELSENKIRCHEN stormed to the top of Group B with an emphatic 3-0 defeat of French Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon in the UEFA Champions League and have guaranteed a place in the knockout round this spring by doing so.

Schalke 04 now lead Olympique Lyon by a single point with just one match remaining in the group stage.

The Bundesliga runners-up last season, although results are improving, still sit an astounding fourth from bottom in the 18-team Bundesliga with just three wins from the first thirteen rounds in Germany, which only adds to the significance of success in Europe.

Schalke 04 have rebounded well in the Champions League after dropping their opening group match to Olympique Lyon 1-0 away in September. Two-time West Germany World Cup midfielder FELIX MAGATH’s side won three out of the next four European contests and surrendered but a single goal in the process. Critically, Schalke 04 captured full points from all three games at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen.

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Peru international striker JEFFERSON FARFAN of Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen, a purchase costing 10.0 million Euros from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven in June of 2008, slides the ball past Olympique Lyon’s France World Cup goalkeeper HUGO LLORIS for the first goal of the UEFA Champions League match in the 13th minute at the Veltins Arena. (Johannes Eiseles/AFP/Getty Images)
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Germany World Cup goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER has been a key man at the back for Schalke 04, who have now lost only once in their last ten matches in all competitions, while conceding just twice in the UEFA Champions League this fall.

Peru international striker JEFFERSON FARFAN, whom Magath recently stated is not for sale despite just one Bundesliga goal thus far this season, justified the manager’s faith by scoring Schalke’s first goal of the game against Lyon; a first goal for Farfan in the shirt of Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen then.

Holland international striker KLAAS-JAN HUNTELAAR, the 14.0 million Euro acquisition from Italian Serie A side AC Milan who leads Schalke 04 with seven Bundesliga goals, hit a brace against Lyon and lifted his total to 10 goals in all competitions for the Gelsenkirchen club this term since his transfer on the last day of August.

Even 33-year-old veteran international striker RAUL GONZALEZ is rejuvenated. After a slow start, the all-time leading goal-scorer for the national team of Spain has registered five goals on his last three outings in the Bundesliga. Raul, a free summer transfer from Spanish La Liga giant Real Madrid, recorded a hat trick over the weekend in Schalke’s 4-0 rout of Werder Bremen and figured prominently in Farfan’s opener against Lyon.

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With the aid of a deflection off of the fallen France World Cup reserve defender ANTHONY REVEILLERE of Olympique Lyon, Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen’s Holland World Cup reserve striker KLAAS-JAN HUNTELAAR (left) scores his second goal of the match against the luckless France World Cup first choice HUGO LLORIS at the Veltins Arena in western Germany. (Martin Meissner/AP)

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