Joern Pollex - Bongarts/Getty Images
Schalke weren't at their best, but they still won 3-0.
The scoreline flattered them greatly, but Schalke defeated Mainz 3-0 at home on Tuesday evening. The visitors hung in as long as they could until two late goals finished the contest.
Schalke was having their way with Mainz early not letting the visitors get much of anything going early during the match. Benedikt Höwedes drew a penalty in the 20th minute on Mainz's Junior Diaz. Jefferson Farfan stepped up to take the penalty, and the Peruvian beat Christian Wetklo to make it 1-0 for the hosts.
As the half wore on to it's conclusion, Schalke appeared to be struggling. The crispness of the passing for the first half hour began to fade allowing Mainz to push forward more. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were unable to find a goal before the referee signaled the end of the half.
Julian Draxler made a substitute appearance halfway through the second half making him the youngest player ever to record 50 Bundesliga appearances. The defender just turned nineteen last week.
Schalke kept pressing forward looking for a second goal, but it was not Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's day. The Dutch forward missed chance after chance. None worse than in the 79th minute when he sent a cross from Lewis Holtby well over an empty net.
They finally found a second goal thanks to Holtby. Christian Fuchs sent a long cross into the box, and Holtby put a header from around the penalty spot past Wetklo. Both players played for Mainz during the 2010-11 season on loans.
Teemu Pukki put the match out of reach in the 87th minute just two minutes after coming on the pitch. Schalke caught Mainz pressing forward looking for a goal, and Draxler dribbled through the middle of the defense with ease. It was Draxler and Pukki running at Wetklo at full speed. Once he committed, Draxler slid the ball to Pukki who touched it into the net.
Schalke won't be thrilled with the performance, but they'll take a 3-0 victory any day of the week. Getting Huntelaar going is the main concern going forward. The loss of Raul this summer hurts in this area, because Holtby isn't quite good enough to step in and be the facilitator that Raul was during his time in Gelsenkirchen.