Schalke 04 joined Bayern Munich
at the top of the table after easing past VfB Stuttgart 3-1 on
Saturday to collect their fourth straight Bundesliga win.
Hosts Schalke took a third-minute lead through Joel Matip's
close-range effort and Kyriakos Papadopoulos rose above two
defenders at the near post to drill home a header in the 57th.
Teenager Julian Draxler finished off a quick passing move
involving Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Raul to grab the third goal 10
minutes from time before lacklustre Stuttgart notched a late
consolation through Shinji Okazaki.
Bayern are top on goal difference despite slumping to a 3-1
defeat at Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday, the first game
since the league's winter break.
"I was surprised by how strongly we started," Schalke coach
Huub Stevens told reporters. "Tactically we played a very strong
game. We now have as many points as Bayern and it is nice to
The only sour note for Schalke was the head injury sustained
by captain Benedikt Howedes.
He could be out for some time after colliding with team-mate
Marko Hoeger just before the break and being taken to hospital.
VfL Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath fielded four of his eight
new signings in the 1-0 victory over Cologne but it was youth
academy product Sebastian Polter who headed in the only goal
from a Christian Trasch cross.
Werder Bremen missed the chance to close in on the top
spots, drawing 0-0 at lowly Kaiserslautern to remain in fifth
place on 30 points after 18 games.
Nuremberg kicked off their year in style, beating fellow
strugglers Hertha Berlin 2-0 to move above their opponents into
12th spot with 21 points.
In another relegation battle Freiburg struck two minutes
from time through Matthias Ginter to snatch a 1-0 win over
bottom club Augsburg while Hoffenheim and Hannover 96 shared a
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