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Schalke holds Bayern to 1-1

TEENAGE midfielder Joel Matip scored on his Bundesliga debut to earn Schalke a 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich yesterday.

Bayern defender Daniel van Buyten scored in the 31st minute but 18-year-old Matip's strike in the 43rd gave Schalke its third consecutive draw and left Bayern winless in its last three games.

Defending champion Wolfsburg came from behind to win 2-1 in Hoffenheim, with Grafite notching the winner on his return to the lineup.

In other games, Mainz beat Nuremberg 1-0, Freiburg won 2-1 in Bochum and Borussia Moenchengladbach drew 0-0 with Stuttgart.

On Friday, Bayer Leverkusen routed Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 and will end the weekend on top, no matter what happens in today's games. Leverkusen has 26 points, four more than Werder Bremen, Hamburger SV and Schalke, on all 22. Hamburg plays today in Hannover, while Werder hosts Borussia Dortmund.

In Munich, Bayern again failed to take advantage of its chances and fell six points behind Leverkusen, dropping to eighth place.

Schalke began well and in the fifth minute Kevin Kuranyi beat Martin Demichelis to the ball, unleashing a shot which Bayern keeper Joerg Butt stretched to palm the ball away.

Thomas Mueller then connected with a corner but headed high over Schalke's goal.

Bayern's goal followed a free kick by Holger Badstuber. Several players went for the high cross, the ball came off Kuranyi's head and dropped in front of the unmarked Van Buyten, who steered it home from two meters (yards) for his third goal of the season.

Schalke also scored after a free kick, with Matip rising to head past Butt. Matip was given a surprise start by Schalke's coach Felix Magath.

"He just told me to go out there and do my job," Matip said.

Just before halftime, Van Buyten nearly scored again from another free kick but Marcelo Bordon cleared off the line.

Bayern winger Arjen Robben came on at the start of the second half for Luca Toni and was fortunate to stay in the game after retaliating against Lukas Schmitz for a foul. Robben escaped with a yellow card, like Schmitz.

Miroslav Klose narrowly missed with a diving header in the 62nd minute, as Bayern stepped up the pressure. But Schalke held on to remain above Bayern in the standings.

"We dominate, but we don't create enough chances," Bayern's coach Louis van Gaal said. "It's incredible. We are not scoring, that's the problem."

Van Gaal, who has not used the same lineup in two consecutive matches, again reshuffled the team that lost 2-0 to Bordeaux in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Germany defender Philipp Lahm, one of Bayern's most respected players, criticized Van Gaal for the constant changes in the rotation, but said Bayern's transfer moves were also to blame.

In an outspoken interview with the Munich Sueddeutsche newspaper published on the day of the match, Lahm said Bayern had not developed a "playing philosophy" similar to the ones of other big clubs such as Barcelona.

Players were not brought in to fit into a system and for specific positions.

"You can't buy players simply because they are good," Lahm said.

Van Gaal switches from using one or two strikers, and with Bayern already with a surplus of forwards, new acquisition Mario Gomez has not found his place in the team, leaving the expensive signing mostly on the bench in recent weeks.

"It was not clever of him to give this interview, especially not on the day of the game," Bayern's general manager Uli Hoeness said after the match. "He will regret it."

Hoeness said the management would also discuss the behavior of Toni, who left the stadium after his substitution during the break and did not attend the second half.

Hoffenheim went ahead with Vedad Ibisevic's diving header, but Zvjezdan Misimovic equalized and Grafite scored with a deflected shot.

Grafite was playing his first game since returning from a brief vacation in his native Brazil. Wolfsburg's coach Armin Veh gave the striker the holiday to help him overcome a scoring drought.


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