Schalke 04 welcomed Hamburg to the Veltins Arena, looking for their first win in four games and to put an end to their stuttering Bundesliga run.
The Royal Blues sat in seventh place heading into the match on Wednesday evening, with 35 points from the 23 games played. A defeat against Mainz on February 12th was followed by a frustrating draw at home to Stuttgart and being held again by Eintracht.
Visitors HSV had won just one of their previous five, leaving them in 11th place with seven points less than their opponents.
An early setback
It was the Dinosaurs who silenced the home crowd on the night as Nicolai Müller ghosted in, slotting between the legs of Ralf Fährmann in the fourth minute to give Bruno Labaddia's men the early advantage.
The scores were almost level four minutes later though as Rene Adler was called into action to deny Younes Belhanda.
Five minutes after that, in the 13th minute of the match, Dennis Aogo should have equalised as a Johannes Geis free kick drifted to the back post, but the full back somehow fired over.
A stinging counter-attack from HSV kept Schalke's defenders sharp; Junior Caicara with a good bit of work to stop the visitors adding to their tally.
On the 24th minute the home fans were shouting for a penalty after Alessandro Schöpf was brought down following a pass from Belhanda - referee Günter Perl said no.
Rewarding the response
Max Meyer provided the spark needed to even the scores as Hamburg failed to clear their lines before the ball fell to the young midfielder, and the thumped it towards the far right corner where it beat Adler. 1-1 in the 37th minute.
A late and crucial piece of drama occurred in the late stages of the half as Johan Djourou picked up a silly second yellow card in the space of five minutes for a foul on Belhanda, and the defender was given his marching orders.
The home side started the second half brightly too, bouyed by the late equaliser and man advantage, and as a lovely move between Schöpf and Meyer found Huntelaar before the Dutchman shot over, it was easy to believe the tables had turned.
Turning the screw
After a lull in proceedings, Schalke should have had a penalty just past the hour, but were rewarded when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar profited from officiating to give his team the advantage.
Schöpf's cross was aimed towards the striker, who appeared to be in an offside position, however the linesman didn't spot it and the 32-year-old obliged to finish, giving Schalke a 2-1 lead with 24 minutes left.
Ten minutes later, the 04ers sealed the deal as Schöpf was rewarded for an excellent performance. His strike took a deflection, and the 60,000+ fans waited nervously before seeing the ball hit the back of the net.
With not long left in the game S04 were celebrating a fourth goal and a second for Schöpf, though this time the flag was rightly raised to cut short the rout.
Gojko Kaçar actually made the dying seconds interesting as he headed home in the 91st minute to make it a one-goal game, but it was too little too late.
It was no more than the hosts deserved for a great response to going a goal down, but events at the Veltins Arena will make HSV rue opportunities and have them looking over their shoulders at the chasing pack.
The win moved Schalke to sixth place, denied going fifth by Mainz' late winner at FC Bayern, while HSV stay in 11th place now just five points from the bottom three.