Schalke 04's poor Bundesliga form continued today as the Royal Blues had to twice come from behind for a 2-2 draw at Mainz ahead of their UEFA Champions League trip to Istanbul's Galatasaray.
Brazil midfielder Michel Bastos scored both Schalke's goals, but his team struggled again having been thumped 4-0 by Bayern Munich last weekend. The Royal Blues fell behind when Mainz midfielder Nicolai Mueller's run evaded three Schalke defenders before Andreas Ivanschitz converted his pass on 27 minutes.
Bastos hit his first for Schalke 14 minutes later, but Mainz went 2-1 up on 63 minutes when Czech Republic defender Zdenek Pospech fired home. The Brazilian again rescued his team's blushes with an 82nd-minute equaliser for his third goal in three games since joining from Lyon in January when he calmly fired home having been left in space. While Schalke move up from tenth place to eighth, the pressure remains on coach Jens Keller, who has just one win in his six games in charge since succeeding Huub Stevens, who was fired in December.
Borussia Dortmund bounced straight back from a home defeat to Hamburg last week by seeing off fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0, despite playing with ten men for the second week in a row. Marco Reus single-handedly dismantled the Eagles with a hat-trick for the defending German champions, who move back to within 15 points of the runaway league leaders Bayern Munich.
The German international netted two goals in as many first-half minutes before adding a third midway through the second half after Julian Schieber had been given his marching orders. Frankfurt also ended the game with ten men after Takashi Inui saw red in the 74th minute, compounding a disappointing evening for Armin Veh's men.
Germany striker Stefan Kiessling scored the opening goal for Bayer Leverkusen in the first-half to join Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic on 15 as the league's top scorer. Kiessling then turned provider when he set up national team-mate Lars Bender to fire home on 75 minutes for the second. Second-bottom Augsburg scored a late consolation effort, but the Bavarians remain ten points from safety.
Rafael van der Vaart scored his first goal for Hamburg since May 2008 with a spectacular 24th-minute thunderbolt of a strike from outside the area to secure a 1-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach to move his team up to sixth.
Freiburg stay fifth, and among the European places, with a 3-2 win at Werder Bremen. Axel Bellinghausen 18th minute tally was the lone goal in Fortuna Dusseldorf's 1-0 win over Greuther Furth. Meanwhile, leaders Bayern Munich show no sign of releasing their iron grip on the Bundesliga after picking up their 18th win in 22 matches with a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg yesterday.