VfB Stuttgart made it eight games unbeaten after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at FC Schalke 04 on Sunday.
Schalke played away at FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine on Thursday and were a step off the pace in the first few minutes, as Christian Gentner tested Ralf Fährmann with a snapshot early on. Andre Breitenreiter’s men responded well, though, taking the lead when Younes Belhanda headed in the rebound after Stuttgart’s Przemyslaw Tyton had denied Alessandro Schöpf.
VfB had a five-match winning run to maintain and emerged for the second half with renewed attacking intent. Fährmann did well to deny Daniel Didavi as the midfield man – on his 26th birthday – burst into the box, with Timo Werner also firing off target and Alexandru Maxim volleying acrobatically wide.
Midway through the second half the visitors’ pressure paid dividends, however, with substitute Martin Harnik stabbing home from close range. Franco Di Santo looked lively for the hosts when he came off the bench, but it was Stuttgart that came closest to a winner, with Fährmann keeping out further efforts from Maxim and Harnik.
Man of the match
As the match wore on, Schalke looked jaded after their midweek exertions in Europe, and the Royal-Blues were indebted to custodian Fährmann, whose several saves in the second period ensured they took a point from the league’s in-form side.
Stuttgart coach Jürgen Kramny may be somewhat disappointed by the end of his team’s winning run, but he will be equally pleased with a solid point earned away at a European participant, particularly as his charges came from behind to do so.
- Belhanda scored for the second game in a row after finding the back of the net at 1. FSV Mainz on Matchday 21.
- The Morocco international has had a hand in four of Schalke’s last five goals, while Schöpf has been involved in the last three.
- Stuttgart have taken 13 points from a possible 15 in 2016, as many as league leaders FC Bayern München.
- A yellow card shown to Didavi means that he will miss next week’s home game with Hannover 96.
Schalke: Fährmann – Caicara, Matip, Neustädter, Kolasinac – Geis, Goretzka – Schöpf, Belhanda (Aogo 85’), Choupo-Moting (Sane 22’) – Huntelaar (c) (Di Santo 71’)
Stuttgart: Tyton – Großkreutz, Schwaab, Niedermeier, Insua – Serey Die (Harnik 71’) – Rupp, Didavi (Maxim 72’), Gentner (c), Kostic – Werner (Kravets 67’)