After four straight defeats to start the season, and Freiburg entering play on a three-match winning run, it was a delight for Schalke fans to see Ivan Rakitic strike on nine minutes after Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's shot was parried by goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
Freiburg and Schalke traded blows for much of the half as either side could have put goals on the board before the break.
But it was the home that eventually struck next, Papiss Demba Cissé notching his fifth of the campaign on 69 minutes after Cédrick Makiadi's deflected cross fell kindly.
But hopes of securing a point for Freiburg were dashed three minutes from time when Huntelaar bagged the winner from close range after being played in by Joel Matip.
Freiburg lost subsitute Ivica Banovic to a red card in stoppage time.
(GSM) - On Wednesday night, Schalke 04 picked up their first victory of the season when they defeated Freiburg: 2-1. Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored the winner in the dying minutes of the match and was very pleased with the hard fought win.
"We did a very good job in the first 45 minutes of the match. We were in full control of the game and deserved our lead at half-time," Huntelaar was quoted as saying on the club's official website.
"Freiburg then had to play more attacking after the interval, but they were unable to create any serious chances. We eventually recorded a hard fought victory. I feel like we totally deserved the full three points though."
The Königsblauen are still last in the table after Wednesday's game. They host Borussia Mönchengladbach at the weekend in what will be another important match for troubled Schalke coach Felix Magath.