Bundesliga, Week 18, Saturday Scores: Schalke Cruises Over Stuttgart, Wolfsburg Earn Three Huge Points

Schalke pulled level on points with leaders Bayern Munich with an impressive victory at home against Stuttgart. The performance by the Royal Blues was dominating and reinforces the fact that they aren't going anywhere in the title race.

Nürnberg vs Hertha Berlin

Der Club celebrated their 1000th match in the Bundesliga with style racking up an important 2-0 win over visiting Hertha. Things started early with Leverkusen-bound defender Philipp Wollscheid saw a header bang off of both posts before being cleared to safety by the Hertha defense. Nürnberg struck just before halftime through Alexander Esswein's shot from just outside the box. It deflected off of defender Roman Hubnik before going past Thomas Kraft. It wasn't until the 85th minute however until the lead was secure. Dominik Maroh diverted Adam Hlousek's free kick past Kraft to seal the victory.

Freiburg vs Augsburg

Freiburg pulled themselves off of the table bottom taking all three points at home in a must-win match against relegation rivals Augsburg. New manager Christian Streich took a gamble in starting 18 year old and youth team product Matthias Ginter in defense. Streich was coaching the youths before the winter break. Ginter rewarded his manager's faith by heading home the winner on a free kick from Michael Lumb in the 88th.

Schalke 04 vs Stuttgart

Joel Matip kicked things off perfectly for Schalke with a third minute goal, and the Royal Blues never looked back. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored minutes later, but the referee incorrectly ruled it back for offside. Schalke continued to press the attack in an attempt to avenge the 3-0 loss Stuttgart handed them on the opening matchday. They were finally rewarded with a second goal in the 57th minute when Kyriakos Papadopoulos powered home a header off of a Julian Draxler corner. Draxler would make it 3-0 later after some fantastic passing from Raul and Huntelaar. Shinji Okazaki would pull one back for the Swabians, but it was too little too late.

Hoffenheim vs Hannover 96

Hoffenheim and Hannover played a rather dull 0-0 draw in front of a small crowd of around 25,000 people. Hoffenheim striker Vedad Ibisevic had the first opportunity of the match, but his shot was wide of the post. Hannover was unable to create a lot offensively, and they spent most of the match chasing the ball. Fabian Johnson had the best chance of the match for either side in the waning minutes, but his shot was easily saved by Ron-Robert Zieler. Both sides came into this season hoping for a top 6 finish, and they'll have their work cut out for them over the remainder of the season.

Wolfsburg vs Köln

No manager has been busier in the January transfer window than Felix Magath, and his new, thrown-together side managed to come out victors against Köln in the Volkswagen Arena. Four of the new signings (Petr Jiracek, Vieirinha, Felipe Lopes and Ricardo Rodriguez) made their debuts in the starting lineup. The goal was scored in the 78th minute by substitute forward Sebastian Polter in only his third Bundesliga appearance. Polter has now scored the winner in the last two matches for Wolfsburg.

Kaiserslautern vs Werder Bremen

Two dull 0-0 draws in one day? Yes. Well. Not really. Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese put on a quality performance to earn his side a point on the road. The best chance of the first half fell to FCK's Florian Dick, but Wiese was able to push the shot off of the inside of the post where it deflected right back into his arms. The hosts rattled the crossbar again in the 59th minute from a Pierre De Wit shot. Bremen's best attack came in the first half when Markus Rosenborg's shot hit off of the post. The result is extremely disappointing for the visitors who could be seeing their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League slipping away from them.

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