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Hoffenheim holds Bayern to 1-1 draw in Bundesliga

CHINEDU Obasi equalized for Hoffenheim to earn a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich yesterday in the opening round of the Bundesliga season.

Obasi's goal in the 41st minute canceled out Ivica Olic's strike in the 25th and partly spoiled new Bayern coach Louis van Gaal's Bundesliga debut, 58th birthday and wedding anniversary.

"I had the feeling that we would win the game and I think we should have won on our chances," van Gaal said. "We played better in the second half, they ran out of gas but we didn't take advantage of it."

Bayern was without playmaker Franck Ribery, strikers Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni and defender Martin Demichelis, all recovering from injuries. With Toni and Klose out, Olic and Mario Gomez made their Bundesliga debuts for Bayern.

Vedad Ibisevic made his comeback for Hoffenheim after missing the second half of the last season with a knee injury. The Bosnian, who scored 18 goals in 17 games before his injury, sent a header narrowly wide of the post in the 18th.

By then, Hoffenheim should have been a goal ahead. Defender Josip Simunic rose to meet a cross and headed it against the post. Goalkeeper Michael Rensing reached back to punch it out, but television replays showed it was well behind the line.

Hoffenheim dominated the early part of the game with its high-pace attack, but it was Bayern that scored first. Olic slotted home a cross form Croatia teammate Danijel Pranjic, another new signing.

"First game for Bayern - first goal. But I am disappointed that we didn't win," Olic said. "Still, we can live with the point."

Hoffenheim leveled when Ibisevic laid the ball on for Obasi, whose low shot beat Rensing.

"I think the draw is just. We had a very strong start, had some good chances, but Bayern came back in the second half," Hoffenheim's coach Ralf Rangnick said. "We have to be happy with the draw."

Bayern got the benefit of the doubt on several questionable calls in the second half. After one of them, Hoffenheim goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand did well to palm away a shot from Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Gomez then missed a good chance for Bayern after rounding Hildebrand but hitting the post.

Earlier, Kevin Kuranyi scored twice to give Schalke and new coach Felix Magath a winning start with a 2-1 victory at promoted Nuremberg on.

Kuranyi scored in the 36th minute after a fast break and a pass from Jefferson Farfan. He collected his second goal in the 50th with a volley from 15 meters (yards).

"I am very pleased with Kevin, he had a very good game," Magath said. "But our game was not very good. We made too many mistakes."

Marek Mintal pulled one back in the 88th but Nuremberg now hasn't defeated Schalke in the top division for 13 games.

Magath, who decided to leave Wolfsburg after it secured its first championship last season, stayed true to his reputation by surprisingly giving 19-year-old midfielder Christoph Moritz his Bundesliga debut.

Eintracht Frankfurt won 3-2 at Werder Bremen thanks to two goals from Ioannis Amanatidis, Borussia Dortmund beat FC Cologne 1-0, Bayer Leverkusen drew 2-2 at promoted Mainz and Hertha Berlin edged Hannover 1-0 due to a goal from Gojko Kacar.

Defending champion Wolfsburg also got off to a winning start Friday, beating Stuttgart 2-0 after second-half goals from Zvjezdan Misimovic and Grafite.


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