Football: Schalke loses, Bayern Munich top again
21 March 2005, HAMBURG - Schalke 04 crashed 2-1 at Mainz 05 on Sunday night and lost the Bundesliga lead to Bayern Munich again after just one week at the top.
21 March 2005
HAMBURG - Schalke 04 crashed 2-1 at Mainz 05 on Sunday night and lost the Bundesliga lead to Bayern Munich again after just one week at the top.
Michael Thurk volleyed the winner with 11 minutes left after Schalke playmaker Lincoln converted a penalty in the 71st minute to cancel out Mainz' first lead after just 19 seconds from Fabian Gerber.
Schalke, who had won the previous five matches including a 1-0 win over Munich last week, lost all momentum and dropped behind the Bavarians - 3-1 winners over Hansa Rostock Saturday - on goal difference again as both are locked on 53 points.
"We have a good team and were very aggressive," said Thurk.
Schalke captain Frank Rost said: "We tried to outplay them in the first half which went horribly wrong. But life goes on. We have 53 points and must now win against Nuremberg in the next game."
"We are second and very well positioned. I prefer to look at the chances rather than the risks," added Rost.
VfB Stuttgart are third with 48 points from a lucky 1-0 victory against bottom side SC Freiburg in the other Sunday game in which former Germany defender Markus Babbel headed the winner in the 20th minute.
Munich put the pressure on Schalke Saturday when Lucio, Claudio Pizarro and Michael Ballack reversed a 1-0 deficit from Uwe Moehrle for the victory against Rostock.
Ballack said: "We kept cool because we know about our strength. It was important to show Schalke that we are there."
Schalke were unable to respond to the challenge and found themselves a goal down quickly against Mainz, who had celebrated their 100th club anniversary last Wednesday.
Lincoln, the hero against Munich with his winning freekick, lost the ball in midfield, Thurk's cross from the left wing was headed on by Niclas Weiland and the unmarked Gerber headed home his fifth goal of the season with just 19 seconds elapsed.
Schalke never recovered, playing poorly and creating not a single scoring chance against a firm Mainz defence.
Their frustration showed when Lincoln elbowed Benjamin Auer and Marcelo Bordon shoved Weiland to the ground.
The equalizer came out of the blue with 19 minutes left. Goalkeeper Tomo Wache saved from Mike Hanke but Nikolce Noveski brought down Niels Oude Kamphuis which allowed Lincoln to fire the equalizing penalty.
But Schalke's joy was short-lived because Thurk, who returned to Mainz in the winter-break from a six-month stint at second division Cottbus, volleyed the deserved winner which moved the promoted side eight points clear of the drop zone.
In other action on Saturday, Champions Werder Bremen won 2-1 at Nuremberg, SV Hamburg crashed 3-2 at home against Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin defeated Arminia Bielfeld 3-0, Bayer Leverkusen won 2-0 over Kaiserslautern, VfL Bochum hammered VfL Wolfsburg 5-1 and Hanover 96 defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1.
Subject: German news