Berlin, Germany: Bundesliga strugglers Schalke earned an important three points as captain and goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann was dropped for Sunday's 2-1 win over Wolfsburg -- a month before their Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester City.
The 30-year-old Faehrmann, who has made 228 appearances for Schalke, was replaced by Germany Under-21 goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel for the club's first league game after the winter break.
"That was a relief to get the win," said Daniel Caligiuri, who scored both goals before admitting the decision by coach Domenico Tedesco to drop Faehrmann caught the team off guard.
"It was a shock for us, Ralf is our captain, but was a bit unsure in the last few games -- we'll have to see what happens now."
Right-back Caligiuri gave the hosts the lead by converting a penalty after eight minutes, but Wolfsburg drew level midway through the first half when midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj beat Nuebel.
Schalke ensured the win, which keeps them seven points away from the bottom three, when US midfielder Weston McKennie picked out Caligiuri on the right and the 31-year-old hit the net against his former club Wolfsburg, who are sixth.
Despite having qualified for the Champions League's knock-out phase, Schalke, last season's runners-up in Germany, remain just above the relegation places after losing nine of their 18 league games.
They host Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in Gelsenkirchen on February 20 with the return leg on March 12.