Potentially playing his final match in Schalke uniform, Lewis Holtby played arguably his best match to date scoring one goal and assisting on two others as Schalke edged Hannover 5-4 to start the second half of the Bundesliga season.
The Bundesliga returned to action after the long winter break in style with Schalke edging Hannover 4-3 in a match capped with a fantastically entertaining second half.
The first half was tumultuous with both sides earning yellow cards from the match official. The rust of the winter break was on display, but Schalke began to penetrate more often as the half moved along. It wasn't until just before the halftime whistle that we got our first goal. Jefferson Farfan was on the receiving end of a long throw in from Christian Fuchs. He took advantage of some poor marking from the Hannover defense and smashed the shot past Ron-Robert Zieler for the 1-0 halftime lead.
Most would've believed you had you told them that we were likely to get a goal or two in the second, but I'm not sure anyone was expecting what we were given by the two clubs.
Just after the break, Julian Draxler made it 2-0. Lewis Holtby sent the ball in to Draxler who went one-on-one with Zieler before slotting it past him and doubling the lead. It looked like Schalke were well on their way to their first win in their last eight matches.
However, a quick double by Sergio Pinto and Szabolcs Huszti leveled the score. Pinto scored when his shot deflected off of Roman Neustädter and beat Timo Hildebrand. Huszti scored four minutes later when his left footed volley at the far post.
We were treated to another flurry of goals in a four minute span. Holtby passed to Marco Höger, and the defender held off a hard challenge to score in the 64th and make it 3-2. Ciprian Marica, starting for a suspended Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, beat Zieler three minutes later to make it 4-2. It seemed like Schalke were finally back in control of the match, but the fans were still celebrating when Huszti pulled one back for Hannover for a 4-3 score after 68 minutes.
Schalke took a 5-3 lead in the 88th minute. Farfan led an attack with all three players behind the Hannover defense. Zieler came off his line to challenge, and Farfan passed to Holtby who scored with an easy tap-in.
Mame Biram Diouf made sure that he made the highlight real. The Senegalese forward scored a spectacular bicycle kick in the dying seconds to pull back one goal. The comeback would not be completed however, and Schalke walked away from the Veltins Arena with all three points.