Schalke wins to secure Champions League progress


GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) -- Schalke left it late to secure a 1-0 win over Olympiakos on Wednesday to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.

Christian Fuchs settled the issue with 13 minutes remaining when he looked up and let fly from 30 meters (yards) to steer the ball inside the post. It was the Austrian defender's first Champions League goal.

"When you get such a chance you have to take it with both hands," Fuchs said. "It was a solid performance and a deserved win."

Julian Draxler could have made sure of the win shortly afterward only to be denied by Olympiakos' Northern Irish goalkeeper, Roy Carroll.

Arsenal beat Montpellier 2-0 in the other Group B game to also ensure progression.

With one game remaining, Schalke has 11 points and Arsenal 10. Olympiakos is four further back and the French side is bottom with one point.

Schalke dominated possession and had 27 attempts on goal, compared to the visitors' six.

"We have to work on our efficiency in front of goal. We had far too many shots wide or over," Schalke coach Huub Stevens said.

Lewis Holtby almost opened the scoring when his 25-meter effort crashed off the crossbar in the 10th minute. Djamel Abdoun wasted Olympiakos' best chance at the other end, the Algerian firing over from a promising position.

Thereafter it was almost all Schalke, with Carroll stretching well to reach Fuchs' free kick, Roman Neustaedter was blocked, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar flashed a shot narrowly wide after Jefferson Farfan's initial effort had been blocked. Draxler then fired wide of the same post.

Schalke pushed even more men forward in the second half, but inspirational defending from Jose Holebas blocked Farfan and then Jermaine Jones from the follow-up.

Paulo Machado's rare attempt at the other end gave the visitors a lift, and former Olympiakos defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos' interception was crucial with Rafik Djebbour lurking behind.

Just when Schalke appeared under pressure, however, Fuchs made the breakthrough with his side's 20th attempt on goal.

"We really wanted to progress so the pressure was there. We didn't play that well. We should have scored a lot earlier," said Huntelaar. "But I think we can do much, much better. Now we have to make sure we beat Montpellier (in the next game) to top the group."