Berlin: Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich managed to eke out a 1-1 draw at home to Schalke 04 on Tuesday despite playing over 70 minutes with 10 men following Jerome Boateng's dismissal.
Jerome Boateng. Pic/AFP
The defending champions have failed to win both games since the return to action after the winter break, but they maintained their eight point lead at the top of the table. Second-placed VfL Wolfsburg -- who inflicted the leaders first league defeat of the season last Friday -- had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola was far from disappointed at dropping points at home.
"I'm very happy. It's never easy against Schalke, we controlled the game and had our chances in front of goal," said Guardiola. "We wanted the three points, but our performance was much better. "We played very well when it was 11 versus 11, but there is no need to talk about the red card." Arjen Robben's second-half header gave Bayern the lead before Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes equalised five minutes later.
"We had more control in the game today than against Wolfsburg and did not allow them to counter," said captain Bastian Schweinsteiger referring to the 4-1 defeat. "But in Stuttgart (on Saturday) we need a win and a good performance." Bayern had Boateng dismissed with just 17 minutes gone for a foul on Schalke's Sidney Sam.
But Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer easily saved Eric Choupo-Moting's weak effort from the resulting penalty. Schalke had personnel problems as Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, last season's league top scorer, is suspended while injury meant the Royal Blues played their third-choice goalkeeper for the second half.
Bayern suffered an early set back as centre-back Boateng was shown a straight red for bringing down Sam. It was the first penalty Bayern have conceded at home in the league all season, but Neuer easily stopped Choupo-Moting's weak effort. Schalke gave 19-year-old goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther his debut for the second-half after Fabian Giefer, who had replaced first-choice Ralf Faehrmann, was unable to come back out as he had suffered a thigh injury.
The teenager made a key save to deny Robben early in the second-half, but Schalke fell behind soon afterwards. Xabi Alonso's corner found Robben unmarked and he headed home on 67 minutes. The lead lasted five minutes as Bayern made the same mistake to leave Schalke skipper Hoewedes free to power home a header to level the scores. "It's annoying to go 1-0 up and then to draw," fumed Robben.
"We played really well against a super defensive side and considering we played with 10 men, we played great."- De Bruyne rescues Wolfsburg - Wolfsburg needed a late goal from Belgian international Kevin de Bruyne to rescue a point. Wolves opted to leave Andre Schuerrle out of the matchday squad having signed the Germany winger for a club record 32 million euros ($36million, Â£24million) from Chelsea on Monday.
The visitors were brought back down to earth after beating Bayern as Frankfurt's Stefan Aigner put the hosts ahead in the 58th minute and nearly added a second soon after. But De Bruyne, who scored twice in the 4-1 romp over Bayern, underlined his stellar season by scoring two minutes from time to leave him with six goals and 11 assists this season.
Borussia Moenchengladbach consolidated third place with a 1-0 win at home to Freiburg, Patrick Herrmann scoring his second goal in as many games. Wednesday's action will see ailing giants Borussia Dortmund, presently bottom of the table, bid to claim three much-needed points when they host fifth-placed Augsburg.