Raul double keeps Schalke on course
Gelsenkirchen: Raul conjured one of the goals of the season as he struck twice to give Schalke 04 a 3-0 win over Hanover 96 in the Bundesliga yesterday and keep them on course for a place in the Champions League.
Dutchman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar completed the win with his 24th goal of the season in a game between two of the sides knocked out of the Europa League last Thursday.
Schalke stayed third, enough to take them straight to the group stage of the Champions League next season, and opened up a five-point gap over Borussia Moenchengladbach in fourth place.
Huub Stevens' team have 57 points from 29 games, six behind second-placed Bayern Munich and a further three behind leaders and arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund. Hanover are seventh with 41.
Schalke, eliminated from the Europa League by Athletic Bilbao, were given an early boost when former Real Madrid and Spain forward Raul rose at the near post to head in Jefferson Farfan's free kick from the right in the sixth minute.
Farfan smashed a ball against the post shortly afterwards as the Royal Blues dominated the game against Hanover, whose Europa League campaign ended at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
The highlight came two minutes after half-time when Peru forward Farfan laid the ball off for Raul on the edge of the penalty area.