Berlin, Sep 21 : Amine Harit's assist and late winner secured Schalke a 2-1 win over resilient Mainz at the opener of the 5th round in the Bundesliga on Friday.
The "Royal Blues" moved temporarily atop the standings after reaping the third win of the season against Mainz, who suffered their fourth defeat from five games. Both teams needed some time to gain a foothold into the clash hence, the spectators had to wait until the 20th minute before Pierre Kunde tested Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel.
As the match progressed, Schalke grew into the contest and came to chances through Suat Serdar, Salif Sane and Harit. The host's efforts paid off with 36 minutes into the encounter as Hart's square pass into the box met Serdar, who made no mistake to tap home from close range.
Schalke should have added another goal to their lead before the break but Guido Burgstaller's sideways scissor-kick missed the target just wide. After the restart, Mainz looked energetic and dangerous but Danny Lazat and Adam Szalai failed to make the most of their promising chances.
Mainz' coach Sandro Schwarz gave his side an impetus in the 71st minute after fielding Karim Onisiwo, who had enough time and space to hammer home the equalizer from 15 meters four minutes later.
The hosts responded with a long-range effort from Mark Uth but Mainz custodian Robin Zenter was on guard. It looked like Mainz could take a point from Schalke until Harit unleashed a perfect shot with the outside of his right boot to beat Zenter into the bottom corner with one minute to play.
With the third straight win, Schalke are now equal on points with leaders Leipzig meanwhile Mainz stay on the 16th place of the table.
The following fixtures are scheduled for Saturday: Werder Bremen host front runners Leipzig, defending champions Bayern Munich face Cologne, Freiburg see Augsburg, Bayer Leverkusen meet newly promoted Union Berlin and Hertha Berlin take on newcomers Paderborn.(XINHUA)