Heroic Neuer rescues point for Schalke
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer produced an outstanding performance on Friday to earn his side Schalke 04 a point after a goalless draw at Bundesliga leaders and arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund.
With Germany set to face Italy in a friendly at Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday, Neuer boosted his chances of facing the Italians in the battle with Leverkusen's goalkeeper Rene Adler for Germany's No1 shirt.
"Manuel Neuer single-handedly earned the draw for Schalke," said Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin after Neuer made ten clear saves, touching the ball 66 times on a busy evening.
While the result extends Dortmund's lead at the top of the table to 12 points before the rest of the weekend's matches, Dortmund were only denied a potential-winning goal by Neuer's performance between the posts.
With five players nominated by national coach Joachim Loew to face Italy, Dortmund are setting the pace in the Bundesliga this season, but despite a string of chances they could not break Schalke's defence.
The hosts began the game with a hiss and a roar as they laid seige to the Schalke goal, but the Royal Blues weather the storm. Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios went close several times in the first half alone to keep Schalke in their own half, while Germany squad member Mario Goetze also went close in the early stages.
Barrios hit the post in the 55th minute, but Neuer could not be beaten. With five minutes remaining, Goetze broke through and beat Neuer, but with the goal at his mercy he hit the post and Schalke scrambled the danger away.
Second-placed Leverkusen are at Nuremberg on Saturday and will be looking to close the gap behind Dortmund, while defending champions Bayern Munich travel to face struggling Cologne.