Schalke hold Dortmund, Leverkusen beat Cologne in German Bundesliga

Berlin, April 11 (IANS) Schalke and Dortmund shared the spoils after four second-half goals while Leverkusen downed Cologne 2-0 at the Rhenish derby to close the Bundesliga’s 29th round.

Second-placed Dortmund dropped points in the hunt of front-runners Bayern Munich, as they were held to a two-all-draw in front of 61,670 spectators on the road, reports Xinhua.

The “BVB” grabbed a better start into the game on Sunday. Meanwhile, Schalke needed some time to gain a foothold. As a consequence, Dortmund’s youngster Christian Pulisic created the first threatening chance for the visitors after pulling just wide of the far post with 23 minutes played.

Thirty minutes into the game, Schalke showed a vital sign as Leroy Sane rattled the right post from outside of the penalty box before Junior Caicara missed the target from promising position moments later.

After the restart, Dortmund ensured a fairy-tale start into the second half as Moritz Leitner teed up for Shinji Kagawa, who lobbed the ball into the top left corner for the 1-0 lead in the 49th minute.

The hosts remained unfazed and responded two minutes later through Sane, who made use of a rebound from inside the box to restore parity. However, Thomas Tuchel’ s men almost grabbed the lead again but Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann denied Henrikh Mkhitaryan’ s free kick on target at the 53rd minute.

Faehrmann was helpless three minutes later when Matthias Ginter nodded home a free kick between two Schalke defenders to make it 2-1 on the scoreboards.

The “Royal Blues” were nevertheless able to secure one point on home soil as Dortmund’ s Sokratis fell Klaas Jan Huntelaar inside the box, allowing the Dutchman to equalize the scores from the spot into the bottom left corner with 65 minutes on the clock. Both teams had their chances in the closing periods but neither Schalke nor Dortmund were able to snatch a win.

With this result, Dortmund’s deficit to leaders Bayern Munich increased to seven points meanwhile seventh-placed Schalke sit in touching distance to the top six.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen sealed their third straight win in row after overcoming Cologne 2-0 thanks to the first-half goals by Julian Brandt and Javier Hernandez.

The “Werkself” boosted their chances to participate in UEFA Champions League as they climbed on the fourth placed, a play-off spot, whereas Cologne stay on the 11th place in the standings.

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