Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Gabon scores his side's first goal during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between BvB Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 (Photo: AP)
Fast-improving Borussia Dortmund notched their fourth straight Bundesliga win after scoring three times in eight minutes late on to earn a 3-0 home victory over Ruhr Valley rivals Schalke 04 on Saturday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put them ahead in the 78th minute, after last season's runners-up had squandered a dozen scoring chances, and the Gabon international celebrated by donning a Batman mask.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan tapped in from close range a minute later before Marco Reus made it 3-0 in the 86th.
"This was a big afternoon," beaming Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp told reporters after his side reignited their hopes of European football next season. "This is what I wished for this morning when I woke up."
Dortmund, who produced some sloppy finishing earlier in the game and also came up against superb goalkeeping from Schalke teenager Timon Wellenreuther, are up to ninth with 28 points.
The 19-year-old, promoted to first choice recently because of injuries, kept his cool when Aubameyang charged forward and managed to block his effort in the fourth minute.
Wellenreuther was lucky when Shinji Kagawa's lob sailed just wide but he pulled off a string of excellent stops especially from Reus and Aubameyang.
Dortmund kept pushing and hit the woodwork through a deflected Reus effort as the 80,000-crowd grew impatient.
Reus wasted several more good chances before Gabon international Aubameyang picked the ball up on the edge of the box and slotted in his 10th league goal of the season.
Armenian Mkhitaryan added another, as the Schalke defence buckled under pressure, before Reus finished them off four minutes from time.
Fifth-placed Schalke (35 points), who were toothless and did not produce a single shot on goal despite having striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar back from suspension, have now won only one of their last five league games.
Fellow Champions League combatants Bayer Leverkusen, buoyed by a 1-0 midweek win over Atletico Madrid, grabbed their first win in four league games as they beat Freiburg 1-0 to climb to fourth, a point ahead of Schalke.
Hertha Berlin needed an 88th-minute goal from Salomon Kalou to defeat in-form Augsburg 1-0, the win lifting them to 14th in the table.
Former champions VfB Stuttgart drew 1-1 with Hanover 96 to remain bottom.
Both teams ended the game with 10 men after Lars Stindl was sent off for Hanover and Stuttgart's Martin Harnik received a straight red card.
Leaders Bayern Munich are 11 points clear at the top after crushing Cologne 4-1 on Friday. Second-placed VfL Wolfsburg (47) travel to Werder Bremen on Sunday.
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