Hamburg — Schalke 04 missed a chance to make it to the top of the German Bundesliga, crashing 3-1 to Bayer Leverkusen, while in another match Hertha Berlin drew 2-2 with VfB Stuttgart, enough to reach the top on goal difference.
Schalke went into the match Sunday knowing a win would take them three points clear of leaders Nuremberg, Werder Bremen and most importantly defending champions Bayern Munich.
But it wasn’t to be even though the visitors went in front after just six minutes when Brazilian Bordon headed home a Lincoln corner from six metres.
Leverkusen weren’t intimidated, however, slowly playing themselves into the game before drawing level in the 28th minute through a well-worked goal from Gonzalo Castro.
The 19-year-old midfielder made it 2-1 just to minutes after the breather, lobbing the ball into the top corner from outside the area after Schalke defenders failed to fully clear a corner.
Carsten Ramelow secured three points for Leverkusen nine minutes later, steering the ball into the net after Schalke goalkeeper Frank Rost could only parry Andrey Voronin’s shot.
Leverkusen coach Michael Skibbe praised his two-goal hero Castro afterwards, describing him as a real talent.
“He is a real talent,” said Skibbe. “He has the ability to play with both his left and right foot.”
Schalke coach Mirko Slomka said his side needed to show more consistency.
“We only played well for 20 minutes,” he complained.
Mario Gomez gave Stuttgart the perfect start in Berlin, scoring after just four minutes, but German international Arne Friedrich equalised for Hertha five minutes later with a powerful header.
Marko Pantelic made it 2-1 to Hertha in the 14th minute with a well struck effort from the edge of the area but Cacau salvaged a point with a second-half header.
The result moves Hertha to the top of the points table with 10 points, ahead of Nuremberg on goal difference while Stuttgart now have eight, the same as Leverkusen.