Mon, Jan 23, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Schalke down Stuttgart to join Bayern at top of table

AFP, BERLIN

Schalke 04 defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos celebrates after scoring against VfB Stuttgart in their Bundesliga match at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

Schalke 04 boss Huub Stevens admitted he was in dreamland as die Konigsblauen drew level with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich with a 3-1 win over VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.

Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 3-1 victory over Bayern on Friday night blew the Bundesliga wide open and Schalke seized the chance to match Munich on 37 points, but the Bavarians stay top because of their superior goal-difference.

A goal after just three minutes from Schalke’s 20-year-old Cameroon midfielder Joel Matip put them ahead against the 2007 champions, before Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos headed home on 57 minutes.

Schalke’s 18-year-old midfielder Julian Draxler then scored his side’s third with 10 minutes left after being set up by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Stuttgart’s Japan international Shinji Okazaki scored a consolation goal three minutes from time.

“I was surprised how strong we were at the start of the game,” Stevens said. “We played tactically very well and only our chances to counterattack went begging, that is my only criticism. I know we have the same amount of points as Bayern and it’s nice to dream.”

Werder Bremen remain fifth after their goalless draw at Kaiserslautern on Saturday night.

Nuremberg beat Hertha BSC Berlin 2-0, while VfL Wolfsburg striker Sebastian Polter scored his second goal in two games to give his side a 1-0 win over Cologne.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim against Hannover 96 finished goalless, while Nuremberg striker Alexander Esswein scored his side’s winner at home to Berlin, before defender Dominic Maroh added the second.

It was the first league game for Hertha’s new coach Michael Skibbe following the sacking of Markus Babbel before Christmas after he fell out with Berlin’s bosses over his future plans.

SC Freiburg proved there is life without Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse, who joined Newcastle United during the winter break, when they earned a 1-0 win over Augsburg with a late header from Matthias Ginter.

With both sides in the relegation places, the result lifted Freiburg up to 17th and put Augsburg on the bottom of the table.

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