FC Schalke 04 2-1 SV Werder Bremen
Schalke returned to winning ways after coming from behind to beat SV Werder Bremen in an entertaining game at the Veltins Arena, with goals from Roman Neustädter and Julian Draxler cancelling out Aaron Hunt's opener for Bremen.
Hunt strikes after early scare
Bremen had had more time to prepare for the game on account of Schalke’s midweek exertions in the UEFA Champions League, but it was the Royal Blues who started the stronger. Less than a minute in, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was denied at close-range by a smart stop from Florian Mielitz.
Bremen were in competitive spirit after last week’s win over 1. FSV Mainz 05, though, and it was they who drew first blood when Zlatko Junuzovic had the presence of mind to pick out the overlapping Aaron Hunt, who superbly found the corner with an angled drive. The lead could have been greater in the first half, but Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ glancing header struck the bar.
Blues back in it
Schalke had been flat in the first half, so it was to their credit that they emerged for the second half with renewed vigour. Completely dominant in possession, the home side hit back to level through Neustädter’s looping header and went ahead ten minutes later, as half-time substitute Draxler rifled home on the break.
Schalke were now well on top and Draxler‘s introduction had really made a difference. A slaloming run from the Germany international set up Lewis Holtby for a third that was ruled out for offside, while Theodor Gebre Selassie had an effort cleared off the line with the last kick of an enthralling game.
Line-ups and statistics
SC Freiburg 0-0 Hamburger SV
There was no way through for Freiburg against ten-man Hamburg as the two sides played out a goalless draw at the MAGE SOLAR Stadion.
The Red Shorts had to make do without the services of central defender Michael Mancienne (flu), so Paul Scharner came in and enjoyed an eventful first half's action. The Austrian was on thin ice following a tenth-minute booking and found himself back in the dressing room just 15 minutes later, after collecting a second yellow card for a needless foul on Max Kruse.
Up until that point it was Hamburg who looked the most likely to break the deadlock, with Artjom Rudnevs spurning the chance of the half following a mistake from Freiburg's Pavel Krmas. Maximilian Beister was seeing plenty of possession for the visitors, but Scharner's sending off meant his afternoon would draw to a premature end, as Fink opted for defensive reinforcements in the form of Jeffrey Bruma.
A man down and reduced to playing on the counter, Hamburg were under the cosh after the restart, with Daniel Caligiuri mere inches from finding the bottom corner for Freiburg. Rafael van der Vaart was having to drop deeper and deeper just to get a foot on the ball, as Freiburg looked to make use of their numerical advantage.
Fink's men defended admirably as the clock ticked down, with a combination of Adler's cat-like reactions and the upright denying Kruse's low drive. Freiburg then had shouts for a penalty waved away as Hamburg held on for a hard-earned point.
Line-ups and statistics
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 1899 Hoffenheim
Düsseldorf remain without a win at the ESPRIT Arena this season after being held to a 1-1 draw by ten-man 1899 Hoffenheim. Robbie Kuse gave the hosts an early lead, but they were forced to settle for a point after Joselu's equaliser for 1899.
Just four minutes were on the clock when Fortuna opened the scoring. Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tim Wiese got nowhere near a long free kick from Ronny Garbuschewski, allowing Kruse to nod into the empty net from close range. The visitors were rocking and were a shade fortunate not to be further behind as Garbuschewski rifled a dead-ball effort narrowly over.
To their credit, the away side patiently awaited a way back into the contest and got their reward six minutes before the half-time whistle. Andreas Beck sent in a teasing right-wing cross which Joselu duly dispatched, rising above his marker at the back post to head home his fourth league goal of the season.
Having got back on level terms before the break, Hoffenheim's efforts were dealt a blow five minutes into the second half when they were reduced to ten men. Marvin Compper had been struggling all afternoon to keep track of Fortuna's Kruse, and could have no complaints as he picked up a second booking for a blatant tug on the lively Australian.
However, for all their possession, Fortuna were unable to forge a way past Hoffenheim's resilient back four. In fact, it was Markus Babbel's charges who very nearly nicked all three points as Sebastian Rudy slid a teasing ball across goal and marginally out of Joselu's reach at the far post.
Line-ups and statistics
Bernie Reeves and Christopher Mayer-Lodge