Gelsenkirchen - After hitting back from two goals down only to then be reduced to nine men, FC Schalke 04's tumultuous exertions in Matchday 4's 2-2 draw at home to Eintracht Frankfurt detracted somewhat from the performance of Cameroonian international Maxim Choupo-Moting.

The 25-year-old reduced the deficit with an audacious first-half penalty and even supplied the cross for Julian Draxler's 50th-minute equaliser, but any hopes the Royal Blues had of completing the turnaround were swiftly dashed with half an hour left on the clock.

'Respect his decision'


"I can't say whether they should have been sent off or not," the former 1. FSV Mainz 05 forward said of referee Markus Schmidt's decision to show Kevin-Prince Boateng and 21-year-old birthday boy Draxler their marching orders in ten barmy second-half minutes. "The referee has his reasons for blowing the whistle. We have to respect his decision."

Up until that point, Schalke had every reason to believe they would go on and complete a memorable comeback, having got themselves back on level terms either side of the half-time whistle. "We had the psychological advantage after the equaliser," Choupo-Moting explained. "But it's hard when you're down to nine men. Still, it says a lot about our character that we didn't lose the game."

'Anything but good'


Saturday's spirited comeback notwithstanding, there's no escaping the fact that the third-from-bottom Royal Blues - in the first round by third division club SG Dynamo Dresden last month - are still to win a single game in six attempts in all competitions so far this term.

"Our start to the season has been anything but good," lamented Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. "It's no good at all if you haven't won any of your first four Bundesliga games and only have two points on the board, but we have 30 games to go and need to start by picking up a win."

'Three points will come'


Jens Keller's men will get their next opportunity to do exactly that on Tuesday evening when they travel to SV Werder Bremen. Four days later, there's that little matter of one of the Bundesliga calendar's innumerable highlights: the Revierderby against Ruhr district rivals Borussia Dortmund.

"If we pull together as a team, we can beat anyone," Choupo-Moting affirmed. "The suspensions won't make things any easier, but we need to close ranks. We've got a squad full of good players, all with their own qualities. Everybody knows [the Dortmund game] is maybe the most important match for this region and we'll give it everything. The first three points will come our way soon enough."

Christopher Mayer-Lodge