Heiko Herrlich enjoyed a perfect first Bundesliga game on the touchline as Augsburg coach on Sunday when his side cruised to a 3-0 win at Schalke, a week after he missed their loss to Wolfsburg because he broke quarantine rules to buy toothpaste.
David Wagner’s Schalke continued their slide down the table, falling to eighth following another poor defensive display.
Eduard Loewen, Noah Sarenren Bazee and Sergio Cordova scored as Augsburg moved seven points clear of the relegation play-off place.
“I’m totally happy,” said Herrlich, whose team host the league’s bottom side Paderborn on Wednesday.
“We’ll be celebrating quietly, because we don’t have much time.
“But we have managed to turn things around,” he added after Augsburg ended a run of four straight defeats.
The 48-year-old Herrlich apologised to his squad after breaking a week-long quarantine by leaving the team hotel — to buy toothpaste and skin cream — before the Wolfsburg match last weekend.
With Herrlich back in charge, Augsburg enjoyed their first win in seven league games.
Having been as high as third last December, Schalke are winless in their last nine league games, including last Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing at Borussia Dortmund.
“We were extremely stupid at the start,” fumed Schalke coach David Wagner, whose side have leaked seven goals, scoring none, since the league resumed.
“The goals we are conceding at the moment speak for themselves.
“We are making blatant individual mistakes.
“The psyche is playing a role and the current situation isn’t passing the boys by.”
The German league’s home curse struck again in Gelsenkirchen.
This was the ninth away win in the 16 Bundesliga matches since the league resumed behind closed doors last weekend after the coronavirus lockdown.
Loewen gave the visitors the lead after just five minutes with a superb free-kick which flew into the top corner from 30 metres out at a near-empty Veltins Arena.
Augsburg doubled their lead 14 minutes from time when Schalke defender Salif Sane was wrong-footed by a long ball and substitute winger Bazee rifled home.
Cordova also came off the bench to score in injury time, latching onto a loose pass from Sane, rounding goalkeeper Markus Schubert and firing into an empty net.
Augsburg host Paderborn on Wednesday, the same day Schalke visit strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off spot in 16th.