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Schalke leave it late to defeat Augsburg

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Berlin (AFP)

Schalke's excellent start under new coach David Wagner continued apace with a 3-2 win on Sunday, but not without a close call away at Bundesliga relegation candidates Augsburg.

The visitors trailed twice against the Bavarians, taking the lead for the first time in the 82nd minute thanks to a stunning strike from Amine Harit.

With Schalke seemingly destined for a third draw from their past four German top-flight games, Harit single-handedly claimed the three points for his team, beating several defenders before dinking the ball over the keeper and into the net.

Borussia Moenchengladbach top the Bundesliga on 22 points from 10 games with Dortmund second on 19, while RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich, Schalke and Freiburg are all on 18.

It was a welcome return to form for the Moroccan international, who picked up the Bundesliga's Player of the Month trophy in September but went off the boil in October.

Augsburg opened the scoring through Daniel Baier, who curled home from the edge of the box. An own goal from Stephan Lichtsteiner allowed the Royal Blues to draw level in the 45th minute, before a penalty from Alfred Finnbogason put the home side again in the lead.

Defender Ozan Kabak picked a good moment to score his first goal in Schalke colours, heading in from a set piece to bring the scores level.

From there the visitors were on top, with Augsburg unable to handle the pressure when Harit scored the winner.

Earlier on Sunday, Fortuna Duesseldorf beat bitter regional rivals Cologne 2-0 in what was a first home triumph over their North Westphalian neighbours since 1983.

The win came against the run of play and lifts Duesseldorf up to 13th place, while Cologne end the round second from bottom.

Plucky Cologne dominated the early exchanges but the away side's verve was dented after Duesseldorf were awarded a penalty in the 36th minute when Alfredo Morales was brought down in the box.

Fortuna forward Rouwen Hennings converted from the spot to give the home side a 1-0 lead going into the break.

Cologne started the second half well, going close on two occasions, but just after the hour mark Duesseldorf doubled their lead on a rare counter-attack, with Erik Thommy taking advantage of some sloppy defending to smash the ball home.

Duesseldorf then held firm to keep just their second clean sheet of the season.

Fortuna's US keeper Zack Steffen was particularly impressive throughout and now has a league-leading 42 saves to his name in the 2019-20 season.

In Saturday's action flares halted play briefly as FC Union defeated city rivals Hertha Berlin 1-0 in their first Bundesliga derby since German reunification.

Niko Kovac admitted his future as Bayern Munich coach hung in the balance after their thrashing 5-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

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