Guido Burgstaller scored twice as Schalke jumped up to eighth place in the Bundesliga table with a comprehensive 4-1 away win at Bayer Leverkusen.
Burgstaller kicked off the visitors' early spree in the sixth minute and rounded it off five minutes after the break following further goals from Benedikt Howedes and Alessando Schopf.
The shell-shocked hosts, who have now gone four games without a win, replied with a consolation goal through Steffan Kiessling in the 69th minute.
It could all have been different for Leverkusen if Julian Brandt had opened the scoring with less than 40 seconds on the clock after being played in by Karim Bellarabi.
But Schalke survived and grabbed the lead totally against the run of play when Leon Goretzka picked up a ball from Nabil Bentaleb and burst into the box where he laid off the opener for Burgstaller.
Howedes doubled Schalke's lead with just 10 minutes on the clock when he rose unchallenged to head home a Schopf corner and delight the travelling supporters.
And just 18 minutes later Schalke's dream start to the game continued as Schopf switched from provider to goalscorer to give his side a barely believable three-goal lead.
This time the shaky Leverkusen defence could not cope with a sustained period of pressure in which Goretzka twice tested the home keeper before Schopf knocked home another for his buoyant side.
Bellarabi missed a chance to reduce the deficit early in the second half and Leverkusen were instantly punished when Burgstaller connected with a Schopf free kick in front of goal.
To their credit Leverkusen kept pushing with Brandt and Bellarabi both coming close before Kiessling sealed the consolation when he rose well to knock in a Bellarabi cross.