Schalke 04 3-2 VfB Stuttgart
SCHALKE 3 STUTTGART 2
Florian Klein's late own goal kept Schalke on course for the Europa League and left Stuttgart rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar put Schalke in front, but goals from Martin Harnik and Filip Kostic turned things around in favour of Huub Stevens' men.
Huntelaar brought the Royal Blues back level in the 78th minute before Kevin-Prince Boateng's volley with just a minute left took a decisive touch off Klein to give Schalke a 3-2 win.
It was their first in seven games and gave them a three-point cushion over seventh-placed Werder Bremen in the race for a place in Europe.
Stevens, voted Schalke's coach of the century by their fans in a poll several years ago, was back once again as a rival at the Arena AufSchalke, as he had been with PAOK Salonika just a few years ago when he grabbed a draw in a Champions League play-off.
A similar result would probably not have been deemed as a success this time, though, with the Swabians in desperate need of all three points to get off the foot of the table.
Schalke also would not have taken a draw coming into the game since their fifth place and a berth in the Europa League next season is coming under threat from no fewer than seven clubs.
It was they who made the better start and, after wasting a few early chances, they went ahead in the ninth minute when Leroy Sane's pass deflected off Martin Harnik to set up Huntelaar, who took advantage of a poor attempt to clear by Georg Niedermeier to end his goalscoring drought of almost 1,200 minutes.
Dennis Aogo went close to adding a second before Sane failed when one-on-one with Sven Ulreich as Schalke pressed for a second.
Almost out of nowhere, Stuttgart levelled with Daniel Ginczek sending his pass to the feet of Harnik, who lifted his shot over Ralf Fahrmann and in.
Huntelaar came close to restoring Schalke's lead before the break but his shot struck the outside of the post.
Stuttgart were quick out of the blocks in the second half and, after Christian Gentner and Harnik were both denied by Fahrmann, the guests took the lead.
Ginczek was again the provider, setting up Kostic for a well-placed finish which left Fahrmann no chance.
Kostic then wasted another chance to make it three moments later as the home fans' frustration started to be heard.
Their team responded with Boateng inspiring them after entering the field, setting up Huntelaar to bring them level in the 78th minute.
Either side could have won it late on but luck was on Schalke's side as Boateng met Aogo's cross and Klein inadvertently diverted the ball past Ulreich.