Schalke finally got off the mark in the Bundesliga on Sunday with three goals in six minutes as it thrashed visiting Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0.
Schalke lost its first five league games under new coach Markus Weinzierl, but had shown some promise with wins in the German Cup and Europa League.
‘Gladbach lost 2-1 midweek at home to Barcelona in the Champions League and missed the chance to go second on goal difference from Hertha Berlin, which is three points behind leader Bayern Munich.
The game sparked to life after the interval when Andre Hahn saw his effort pushed onto the post by Schalke `keeper Ralph Faehrmann.
From then on it was all Schalke.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fell in a challenge from Ibrahima Traore to earn a debatable penalty, dusted himself off and duly converted from the spot to open the scoring in the 52nd.
Sead Kolasinac crossed for club-record signing Breel Embolo to score his first Bundesliga goal four minutes later and Leon Goretzka scored two minutes after that, converting the rebound after Yann Sommer saved Choupo-Moting’s initial effort.
Embolo, a $25 million summer signing from Swiss side Basel, wrapped up the rout with his second goal seven minutes from time.
Schalke’s poor start was baffling with much expected of the side after its summer overhaul.
Christian Heidel, highly regarded for his work at former side Mainz, had taken over as sporting director and Markus Weinzierl was employed as coach. Weinzierl highlighted his coaching capabilities in four successful seasons at modest Augsburg.
Together they oversaw a raft of arrivals: Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from Sevilla, Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb from Tottenham, French midfielder Benjamin Stambouli from Paris Saint-Germain, Naldo from Wolfsburg, Coke from Sevilla, Abdul Rahman Baba from Chelsea, and Embolo, who finally confirmed his arrival in the league against `Gladbach.
WOLFSBURG 0, MAINZ 0
Wolfsburg’s lackluster start to the season continued earlier Sunday.
The Volkswagen-backed club remains in 13th place with just six points from six games and was whistled by its own supporters after its fourth straight game without a win.
Germany striker Mario Gomez again failed to score in his fifth full game for the side since his summer switch from Fiorentina.
Wolfsburg made the stronger start, controlling possession, winning the lion’s share of challenges and forcing Mainz to defend in numbers. Julian Draxler had the ball in the net early on but he was clearly offside.
Jakub Blaszczykowski and Draxler had chances before the break, Gomez went close again after it, before Levin Oztunali set up Yunus Malli to shoot just wide at the other end.
Mainz defender Giulio Donati rescued his side after Draxler rounded the goalkeeper and shot toward the unguarded net. Donati slid in to clear in front of the line _ as close as Dieter Hecking’s side was to get.