BERLIN – Schalke secured themselves another full week of second place in the Bundesliga after grabbing a 1-0 victory at Mainz on Friday night.
Daniel Caligiuri gave Schalke the lead in the 55th minute and that was enough as Schalke have now collected four straight victories in the league and have 46 points – four points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt.
“The way we got the win was really important after the first half, where we didn’t have a lot of chances,” Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco said.
“You need character to hold off the other team. Mainz did a good job and were really aggressive.”
Mainz missed a chance to move out of the relegation playoff spot and have 25 points through 26 matches in 16th place.
“It’s a tough loss to take because we played well, particularly in the second half, but we weren’t rewarded for our effort,” Mainz’s Suat Serdar said.
“We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, while they took their one chance.”
The first shot of the game came after five minutes, but Mainz keeper Florian Mueller had little trouble with Caligiuri’s attempt.
Schalke were looking for a penalty after 17 minutes as Caligiuri’s shot struck Danny Latza’s arm, but the referee refused to point to the spot.
Mainz were close in the 28th minute, but Robin Quaison’s shot deflected off a defender and sailed just wide of the far post.
The hosts threatened the goal three minutes after the restart with Anthony Ujah finding Daniel Brosinski, but his right foot shot went wide of the near left post.
Schalke finally struck the back of the net in the 55th minute on a great solo effort from Caligiuri, who dribbled through three Mainz defenders and then curled his shot past Mueller and inside the far right post to make it 1-0.
Schalke have now picked up at least one goal in their last 20 Bundesliga games – the longest current stretch in the league.
Schalke also have a strong keeper in Ralf Faehrmann, and he showed his class in stopping Serdar in the 65th and 68th minutes to keep his sheet clean.
Faehrmann was outstanding once again in the 84th minute, stopping Levin Oeztunali’s shot for his third straight game without conceding a goal.