Schalke started strongly at the ESPRIT arena...
Schalke started strongly at the ESPRIT arena...

Düsseldorf battle back against Schalke

Munich - Despite becoming the first team to score against Fortuna Düsseldorf this season, Schalke 04 had to make with a 2-2 draw at the ESPRIT arena in an absorbing Matchday 6 opener.

Huntelaar breaches the Düsseldorf defence

Schalke seemed well on the road to victory after scoring twice in a tense but largely uneventful first half, but Dani Schahin threw the hosts a lifeline with a goal minutes after the restart and the 23-year-old frontman went on to level the contest 13 minutes from the end.

Schalke coach Huub Stevens made three changes to the starting eleven from his side's 3-0 midweek win against Mainz 05, while Düsseldorf's Norbert Maier left out Ken Ilsö, who scored in the 2-0 victory at Greuther Fürth, in favour of Andriy Voronin.

Düsseldorf could have rewarded themselves for their furious start when right back Tobias Levels confidently volley-crossed the ball to Schahin whose diving header went just past the left post after five minutes. However, Schalke subsequently controlled the game and used their first scoring opportunity 13 minutes into the game when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar beautifully chipped the ball past three Fortuna defenders to leave 22-year-old goalkeeper Fabian Giefer no chance with his left-foot strike from 20 yards.

Matip doubles the advantage

Schalke continued their perfect exploitation seven minutes later as the poorly marked Joel Matip headed Christian Fuchs' precise free-kick into the back of the net to double the lead.

Düsseldorf desperately tried to get a grip on the game as the atmosphere remained very positive amongst both set's supporters, but too often lost the ball in their build up as well as many long balls were caught by the solid Schalke defence. New Dutch loan signing Ibrahim Afellay could have added a third goal, but his attempt from outside the box just before half time went wide.

Hosts back in it

Afellay had another scoring opportunity immediately after the break when his volley tested Giefer, but Düsseldorf seemed to emerge for the second 45 minutes rejuvenated as they looked much livelier. Only two minutes into the second half, Schahin got a touch on Voronin's corner kick to catch Lars Unnerstall on the wrong foot and lob the ball over Schalke's goalkeeper to make it 1-2.

It was now an open match, but Schalke were straighter -forward in the last third of the pitch. But Lewis Holtby (54'), the lively Afellay at the hour mark and Huntelaar (66') were all denied by Giefer who impressively saved their attempts with his feet.

Fortuna favours the brave

Schahin failed to head the ball on goal from close range after 77 minutes and, likewise, last season's Bundesliga top scorer Huntelaar headed Afellay's cross wide only a minute later on the other side of the pitch.

Julian Draxler could have snatched Schalke the three points six minutes later, but nodded Holtby's cross wide.

However, Schahin did better in the 77th minute to strike a brace as the newly-signed forward beautifully headed Levels' cross from the right into the far right corner to score his fourth goal of the season.

2-2 it finished and Düsseldorf thus remain undefeated in the top flight. They will be travelling to Mainz on Matchday 7 while Schalke take on VfL Wolfsburg.

Line-ups and statistics