Mainz - They may have made a terrible start to the league season with only one point from three games, but having triumphed in their last two outings, FC Schalke 04 appear to have turned a corner, thanks in no small part to last-minute recruit .

The 26-year-old Ghana midfielder, signed from AC Milan a day before the transfer window slammed shut, enjoyed a winning debut on Matchday 4, before scoring the decisive goal - his first for the club - in Saturday's victory at 1. FSV Mainz 05.

"Quality player"


Stability seemed to be the key element Schalke were missing at the start of the season, and Boateng, a former Germany Under-21, has delivered exactly that. His leadership qualities both on and off the pitch have not gone unnoticed, and it is no wonder he has received praise from both team-mates and the men in charge at the club.

Schalke captain Benedikt Höwedes was quick to highlight the incredible shift Boateng put in after Saturday's win. "Prince is a player of incredible quality, but besides that, he works really hard when not in possession," said the Germany defender. Horst Heldt, the club's sporting director, also described Boateng as a "quality player", whose influence could be seen from day one in training.

"Element of luck"


Having felt at home right from the start surely helped the Berlin-born midfielder to settle in so seamlessly to his new surroundings, but Boateng also said he owed his dream start to the fans, who, despite the Ghana midfielder previously having featured for arch rivals Borussia Dortmund, have received him with open arms.

"The fans have given me a very warm welcome, and I wanted to thank them," Boateng explained after Saturday's win, having sprinted across the pitch to the Royal Blues faithful after finding the net with his fantastic first-half strike. "I looked up and took a chance - of course there's always an element of luck in it," he said modestly.

Focused


The Royal Blues next face Romania's FC Steaua Bucuresti in the UEFA Champions League, before tackling quadruple-winners FC Bayern München on Bundesliga Matchday 6, a game which will see Kevin-Prince go head-to-head with his brother Jerome.

Despite Saturday's fraternal showdown looming large on the horizon, though, Boateng is looking no further than the team's next task in hand: "I'm looking forward to the Bayern game in front of our fans, but we now have to concentrate on the Bucharest encounter [...] Hopefully things can continue in the same vein."

Tobias Schächter