Raul grabbed a brace to set Schalke en route to victory as they dominated Hapoel Tel Aviv tonight. A further strike from Jose Manuel Jurado ensured Schalke go second in UEFA Champions League Group B, although there was still time for Itay Shechter to grab a late consolation for the visitors.
Schalke wasted little time in taking the lead as Raul fired home in just the third minute. They continued to dominate the game as Hapoel struggled to deal with the threat of Klass Jan Huntelaar. The Dutchman fired wide in the 19th minute and then, moments later, saw his close-range effort kept out by the feet of goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
At the other end, Toto Tamuz's shot was blocked by Benedikt Howedes. But it was Huntelaar who was the centre of attention as he sent a header narrowly wide before his next effort was deflected away by Douglas. Huntelaar continued to win every aerial battle, but saw his next header easily held by Enyeama before another was blocked by Walid Badir.
After Manuel Neuer was called on to keep out Omri Kende's shot, Huntelaar had a go with his feet and saw his powerful 20-yard shot parried by Enyeama in the last significant action of the first half.
The second half began with another chance for Raul, though he failed to really trouble Enyeama with a left-footed effort from the edge of the box. Christoph Moritz then sent a weak effort wide before Avichai Yadin was likewise off-target at the other end.
Huntelaar got a little closer to scoring in the 57th minute but his frustration continued as this time the header came back off the crossbar. Not to be put off, he tried another header moments later and this time forced an outstanding save from Enyeama.
But while Huntelaar could find no way past the goalkeeper, Raul doubled Schalke's lead within a minute, meeting Ivan Rakitic's pass to fire home. Rakitic then tried himself, and forced another fine save from Enyeama. Rakitic was having more joy as a provider as he next teed up Jurado to score Schalke's third with a shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.
With the result now beyond doubt, the only question was whether or not Huntelaar would find a way to score. However, his luck was not improving as a close-range shot was blocked again by Badir.
Gil Vermouth's effort for Hapoel was blocked by Christoph Metzelder before Rakitic blazed a shot over the bar. Deep in injury time, Shechter got a goal back for Hapoel with a close-range finish, but there was never any question over which was the better side tonight.