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Leverkusen edge clear as Schalke snatch draw

Vicente Sanchez heads Schalke's second goal to earn a 2-2 draw at Bayer Leverkusen.
Vicente Sanchez heads Schalke's second goal to earn a 2-2 draw at Bayer Leverkusen.
  • Bayer Leverkusen will end weekend at top of Bundesliga despite being held 2-2 at crisis club Schalke
  • Werder Bremen are one point back, second on goal difference ahead of Hamburg after also drawing 2-2, at Nuremburg
  • Hamburg suffer first league defeat of season, losing 3-2 at home to Borussia Monchengladbach
  • Bayern Munich in fifth, two points behind Schalke, after drawing 0-0 away to struggling Stuttgart

(CNN) -- Bayer Leverkusen will end the weekend at the top of the German Bundesliga despite being held 2-2 away to crisis club Schalke on Saturday night.

Leverkusen have a slim one-point lead over Werder Bremen, also drawing 2-2 at Nuremburg earlier in the day, and Hamburg -- who were beaten 3-2 at home by lowly Borussia Monchengladbach.

Schalke, who needed a $38 million cash injection from investors in midweek to ensure the club have enough finances to last the season, remain in fourth place ahead of Bayern Munich, who drew 0-0 at Stuttgart.

Leverkusen led 2-0 at halftime as Toni Kroos, filling in for the injured Simon Rolfes, volleyed home from the edge of the penalty area in the 29th minute and then Stefan Kiessling headed his seventh goal this season just before halftime as he beat Carlos Zambrano to meet Tranquillo Barnetta's free-kick.

Kiessling, who has been called up for Germany's friendlies against Chile and the Ivory Coast, then had another header from a Barnetta cross pushed onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in injury-time.

Kevin Kuranyi gave Schalke hope in the 83rd minute when he forced the ball over the line amid a goalmouth scramble, then five minutes later the striker's flick was headed in by Vicente Sanchez with goalkeeper Rene Adler left stranded.

It was Schalke's second successive come-from-behind draw against league leaders following last weekend's draw with Hamburg.

Bremen claimed second place on goal difference as Aaron Hunt scored twice in the final 18 minutes to snatch a point at Nuremburg, extending the club's unbeaten run to 17 games.

Christian Eigler put Nuremburg ahead in the third minute after calamitous defending by the visitors allowed him to tap Andreas Wolf's long ball into an empty net.

Albert Bunjaku made it 2-0 after 33 minutes when he headed in a corner, but the home side were left to rue a series of missed chances as midfielder Hunt gave Bremen a lifeline on 72 with a header from Sebastian Boenisch's high cross.

Hunt snatched a point two minutes into injury-time after Juri Judt failed to clear the ball , allowing him to blasted into the top of the net from 15 yards.

Hamburg missed the chance of returning to the top after suffering their first defeat of the season against Borussia Monchengladbach, who twice came from behind.

Piotr Trochowski gave Hamburg the lead in the 13th minute after being set up by Jonathan Pitroipa, but Marco Reus equalized six minutes before halftime with a looping shot after some fine passing between Raul Bobadilla and Roberto Colautti.

Ze Roberto put the home side ahead again two minutes after the restart when he fired in a freekick off the underside of the crossbar, but fellow Brazilian Dante leveled again in the 76th minute with a header from a corner.

Rob Friend gave Gladbach victory eight minutes from time as he went past Joris Mathijsen on the right side and beat goalkeeper Frank Rost at his near post.

Bayern recalled recalled Mario Gomez to face his former club at Stuttgart in place of Luca Toni, but the striker fired his best chance into the sidenetting just before halftime.

Toni made an impact after coming on as a second-half substitute, missing two chances before being denied his second goal of the season in the 86th minute when the linesman flagged after he touched a Philipp Lahm cross past goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

The result brought some relief to under-pressure home coach Markus Babbel, whose future was in doubt after five successive league defeats.

Defending champions Wolfsburg were left sixth on goal difference above Mainz after being held 3-3 at home by that team thanks to Tim Hoogland's 85th-minute equalizer for the visitors.

Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins had put Wolfsburg 2-0 up after 20 minutes, but Chadli Amri and Andreas Ivanschitz hit back before halftime.

Hannover won 1-0 at Cologne to leave the home side just above the relegation zone, as Jan Rosenthal netted the only goal in the 37th minute.

On Sunday, 13th-placed Freiburg host mid-table Hoffenheim while Eintracht 11th-placed Frankfurt are at home to second-bottom Bochum.