Seppo Eichkorn lost his only game in charge of Schalke as the visitors were comprehensively outplayed by Bayer Leverkusen.
The hosts were superior from start to finish, and clinched the three points thanks to a stunning Eren Derdiyok volley and a Christoph Metzelder own goal.
Neuer produced two top-class stops in the opening ten minutes to keep Leverkusen at bay. First he denied Sidney Sam with a brave intervention at the feet of the winger before pulling off a superb one-handed stop to keep out a Michael Ballack header. Schalke's first sight of goal came on 16 minutes when Rene Adler parried Edu's shot into the path of Daniel Schwaab, who hastily cleared the ball over his own crossbar.
Leverkusen took the lead in the nineteenth minute through one of the goals of the season. Michael Ballack won the ball back in midfield and played in Eren Derdiyok who composed himself before unleashing an unstoppable right-footed volley past a stunned Manuel Neuer, who barely saw the ball fly into the net. It was the Swiss striker's first goal against die Koenigsblauen and his fifth this season.
The home side doubled their lead nine minutes later with a goal as farcical as the first one was brilliant. Renato Augusto whipped another superb ball into the penalty box, and under pressure from Michael Ballack, Metzelder could only head past a helpless Neuer into his own net. As own goals go, it was a fine effort but one which also deepened Schalke's woes.
Jupp Heynckes' men continued to have the upper hand after the break and Neuer was forced to dive to his left to parry a Derdiyok drive away. Raul, who had been quiet for most of the game, shot straight at Adler on 51 minutes after good work from Edu, who cut in from the left. Adler then tipped Jose Jurado's right-footed drive behind on 66 minutes but Schalke could not create any clear-cut opportunities against a strong Bayer defence.
The home side, who showed no ill-affects despite the intense speculation surrounding the future of Heynckes, could have had a third late on but Sam was a little too nonchalant, as well as selfish, when one-on-one with Neuer, who spread himself and made the save. Had he played the ball to Kiessling, it would have been the icing on the cake and the perfect tonic after the Europa League elimination at the hands of Villarreal.
Leverkusen's seventh win at the Bay Arena this season means they cut the gap to leaders Borussia Dortmund to seven points, while Schalke remain in tenth.
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