Kaiserslautern's Bundesliga future is looking increasingly gloomy after they were beaten 4-1 at home by Schalke today.
The Red Devils equalled a club record of 16 games without a win, although they made a good start with Rodnei putting them in front after only three minutes.
Lewis Holtby and Klaas Jan Huntelaar turned the game round before the interval, though, and Raul and Jefferson Farfan gave Schalke their second 4-1 win in four days after beating FC Twente by the same scoreline in the UEFA Europa League.
The win gives Schalke a ten-point advantage over fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, while they are only a point behind Borussia Monchengladbach in the chase for places in the UEFA Champions League next season.
"We didn't want to fall behind, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar didn't pay attention when they scored their goal," said Schalke coach Huub Stevens. "Things worked better after that and we said in the break that we needed to get the third goal quickly. That came from a super goal by Raul. If we finish the season in fourth, that would be great."
The hosts are now six points adrift of safety and the future of their coach Marco Kurz is looking bleak. Kaiserslautern had made a perfect start to the game as they went in front after only three minutes.
Hosts go ahead
Christian Tiffert delivered a free-kick from the right to the far post where Rodnei rose to head in unchallenged back across Timo Hildebrand. The Royal Blues had gone behind in their win over Twente in midweek and it seemed like conceding an early goal had a similarly positive effect on them this time.
Huntelaar missed their first chance in the 24th minute with a header just wide of the post from Raul's cross. The same combination led to Huntelaar scoring in the 32nd minute, albeit from an offside position meaning it was ruled out.
But a Schalke goal was in the air and it arrived in the 39th minute with Huntelaar this time the provider, although Holtby did the hard work with a precise shot into the top left-hand corner of the goal. Huntelaar then gave Schalke the lead just before the break when he converted Christian Fuchs' cross from ten yards out.
Two more goals
It was Schalke's turn to score an early goal in the second half with Raul taking a leaf out of Holtby's book with a fine left-footed shot which sailed unstoppably into the top right-hand corner of the goal in the 51st minute.
Julian Draxler shot wide as Schalke concentrated on improving their goal difference, which could yet be the difference between a place in the group stages of the Champions League or the qualifying round.
They got the goal which gives them a better record than third-placed Gladbach in the 81st minute when Holtby and Farfan broke in a two-against-one situation, with the former squaring for the latter to sidefoot in from ten yards and complete another miserable day for Kaiserslautern.