Former Spanish international great Raul scored a brace as Bundesliga strugglers Schalke 04 finally ended their jinx at the Veltins-Arena with a 3-0 home defeat of St Pauli on Friday.
Schalke finished runners-up last season, but have made a disastrous start to this campaign with one win in their first 10 games prior to this victory, leaving them hovering precariously around the relegation zone.
Raul moved to the German side in July on a two-year deal after making more than 500 appearances for Real Madrid and has come in for criticism in recent weeks, despite scoring a brace in the Champions League against Hapoel Tel Aviv last month.
Felix Magath’s side went into the match with plenty of pressure — it is Schalke’s worst ever start to the season — but showed enough composure and determination to keep their first clean sheet since February.
Raul opened the scoring on 14 minutes, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, a former teammate of Raul’s at Real Madrid, doubling the lead in the 53rd minute.
Raul put the match well beyond reach of St Pauli with his second goal of the game nine minutes from time.
“It’s a relief to win at home and I’m very happy for Raul, who as well as scoring two goals, showed he can play alongside Huntelaar,” Schalke coach Magath said.
Central defender Christoph Metzelder, who has been a target for some Schalke fans in recent weeks, was more than happy at having conceded no goals.
“I hope this will be the start of better things for us,” Metzelder said.
“In any case, it has given us a confidence boost and showed that our defense is becoming a bit more solid,” he said.
Schalke were second from bottom and moved up two places to 15th on nine points, 16 adrift of league leaders Borussia Dortmund. St Pauli remain in 13th on 13 points.
German champions Bayern Munich are in seventh place, 10 points off the pace.