BERLIN (AFP) - Miroslav Klose spared Bayern Munich's blushes with a second-half header as the Bundesliga leaders stayed top of the table with a 1-1 draw with Schalke 04 at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
This was Klose's fourth league goal of the season and calmed Bayern's nerves to maintain their unbeaten record as his equaliser gave his side their narrow one-point lead over second-placed Arminia Bielefeld.
Schalke had taken the lead against the run of play when Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic slammed home his shot from the edge of the penalty area on 35 minutes to beat Bayern's goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.
Bayern's Italian striker Luca Toni had earlier squandered three clear chances to give his side the lead, but it stayed 1-0 to the Royal Blues at half-time.
But the German giants, chasing their 21st crown as national champions, got back on level terms when a Franck Ribery free-kick was headed into the path of Klose and the German striker, the top scorer at last year's World Cup, headed home on 54 minutes.
"We had planned to take three points from this game to put some distance between us and the rest of the table, but we didn't manage it," said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.
"The first half an hour was good, but we missed our chances and we were a bit too timid.
"In the second half, it was a much tighter game and Schalke demanded a lot of us. I think that both teams earned the draw."
Schalke boss Mirko Slomka, who celebrated his 40th birthday in midweek, acknowledged his side squandered their chances.
"After the first 20 minutes, it didn't look like we would win, Bayern were all over us and exposed some of our problems in defence," he said.
"But once we got our goal, we really flowed and it could have been 2-0 at the break.
"The team played very well and we did well to take a point from Bayern."
Elsewhere on Saturday, defending Bundesliga champions VfB Stuttgart picked up a much-needed three points with a 3-0 win at home to Energie Cottbus.
Brazilian's Cacau and Ewerthon scored second-half goals before Germany's player of the year Mario Gomez came off the bench to score the third.
This was only Stuttgart's second win in five Bundesliga games and lifted them up to seventh.
Second-placed Arminia Bielefeld routed bottom-side Hansa Rostock 4-2 to keep the pressure on Bayern.
Bielefeld took the lead when midfielder Joerg Boehme crashed home his indirect free-kick which took a deflection off Rostock's Nigerian striker Victor Agali after 31 minutes.
Rostock equalised just after the break, but Bielefeld put the game beyond doubt with three goals in nine minutes as striker Christian Eigler scored twice along with Artur Wichniarek, who got his fourth goal of the season.
The guests grabbed a second goal late in the game, but it was too little, too late.
Bayern Leverkusen enjoyed a 2-0 win over ten-man VfL Bochum after French midfielder Marc Pfertzel was sent off for a second yellow-card and Leverkusen's defender Karim Haggui grabbed their first goal with a header on 62 minutes.
German defender got the second goal two minutes from time and Bayern's win leaves them fifth, while Bochum crash down the table to ninth.
Hanover raced into a two-goal lead at Nuremberg when ex-Germany striker Mike Hanke headed home two first-half goals, but the German Cup holders hit back to force a 2-2 draw as Hanover were reduced to ten men for the last ten minutes.
And Eintracht Frankfurt stay third after midfielder Alexander Meier scored both their goals in their 2-1 home win over Hamburg.
There was an upset on Friday night as Werder Bremen had their run of three wins broken when they were left reeling after conceding three goals in ten minutes as they were beaten 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund.
Swiss midfielder Mladen Petric led the charge with two goals and the win takes Dortmund up to fourth in the table.
On Sunday, VfL Wolfsburg take on last season's second-division champions Karlsruhe and Duisburg host Hertha Berlin.
|17||M. van Bommel|
|Coach: O. Hitzfeld|
for B. Schweinsteiger 67'
for L. Toni 74'
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