New coach but winless run hits 30 games at Schalke

BERLIN (AP) — Schalke’s hopes of a fresh start under new coach Christian Gross failed to materialize Saturday as the team’s long winless run in the Bundesliga continued with a 3-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin.

After 30 winless games in the Bundesliga, stretching back to last season, Schalke is now only one game away from matching the all-time record.

Goals from Matteo Guendouzi, Jhon Cordoba and Krzysztof Piatek ended Hertha’s own run of three games without a victory and deepened the crisis at Schalke

Schalke played in a stadium lit up in blue – the club’s colors match those illuminating Hertha’s Olympiastadion – and even had some unusual encouragement from outside the stadium.

The supporters held signs saying, “That’s our record!” and “Save the record for Tasmania!” while displaying Tasmania scarves, flags and banners.

Schalke, which hasn’t won a league game for almost a year, hosts Hoffenheim next weekend, knowing it is one game from matching the unwanted record.

But Schalke’s plight is far worse than Tasmania’s given the historical differences between the clubs. Tasmania was out of its depth when it was promoted to the Bundesliga for political reasons in 1965. Hertha had been relegated for making illegal payments to its players and league authorities wanted to replace it with another from West Berlin in what was West Germany’s soccer league at the time. Tasmania wasn’t even the first choice, but it accepted the league’s invitation to play.

In contrast, Schalke is a seasoned Bundesliga contender, backed by energy giant Gazprom, but it has worked its way through four coaches already this season.

Guendouzi opened the scoring in the 36th minute when he curled his shot inside the far past after Matheus Cunha’s initial effort was blocked.

Vladimir Darida set up Cordoba in the 52nd and substitute Piatek wrapped up the scoring by shooting through goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann’s legs in the 80th. Piatek had another goal ruled out for offside and Hertha missed other chances, too.

LEVERKUSEN'S MISSED CHANCE

Bayer Leverkusen missed the chance to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga by slumping to a 2-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt as the league resumed from its winter break.

Nadiem Amiri scored one of the goals of the season with his heel after being played in brilliantly by the 17-year-old Florian Wirtz in the 10th minute. Frankfurt fought back to deservedly deal Leverkusen its first away defeat of the season and its second straight loss.

Leverkusen had been unbeaten before it lost the league lead with a 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in their last game before the seasonal break. Bayern can now move five points clear of Leverkusen with a win over lowly Mainz on Sunday, while Leipzig can also take advantage of Leverkusen’s loss against Stuttgart later Saturday.

Goals from Amin Younes in the 22nd and an own-goal from Edmond Tapsoba in the 54th were enough for Frankfurt, which profited from Leverkusen’s lack of left backs. Both Wendell and Daley Sinkgraven were out with the coronavirus.

UNION FLYING HIGH

On-loan Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi scored one goal after setting up another for Sheraldo Becker as Union Berlin moved fourth with a 2-0 win at Werder Bremen.

Union, which was only promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time last year, is targeting survival in its second season – especially with no fans allowed at games due to the coronavirus – but now its fans watching from afar are dreaming of European qualification.

Also Saturday, Borussia Mönchengladbach beat Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 and Cologne lost 1-0 at home to Augsburg. Freiburg won 3-1 at Hoffenheim.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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