Schalke come from behind to deny Maribor

FC Schalke 04 1-1 NK Maribor
The visitors made it two draws from as many Group G outings and led through Mitja Viler before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hit back.

Jasmin Handanović makes three late saves to earn Maribor a second point
Damjan Bohar stuns the home crowd with the opening goal before half-time
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar squeezes in the equaliser for Schalke
Dare Vršič lives up to his name with shot from own half that almost goes in
Next games: Schalke v Sporting, Chelsea v Maribor (21 October)

FC Schalke 04 and NK Maribor remain level-pegging in Group G after a 1-1 draw at the Stadion Gelsenkirchen.

After both games ended 1-1 on matchday one, pole position was there for the taking and Maribor staked a genuine claim when they took the lead against the run of play in the opening period. However, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's second goal in as many UEFA Champions League outings this season left the sides all square on the night and in the table as Chelsea FC seized the early initiative thanks to their win at Sporting Clube de Portugal.

The Schalke players were given a heroes' welcome upon their arrival at the stadium following Saturday's Revierderby victory over fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and they began with due confidence as Dennis Aogo curled an early free-kick just over and Huntelaar twice went close after getting into good positions.

Yet the Slovene outfit almost stunned the home crowd into silence on 11 minutes when Dare Vršič spotted Ralf Fährmann off his line, narrowly missing the target from inside his own half with the Schalke goalkeeper furiously back-pedalling. Still, it was the German team dictating proceedings and, with Julian Draxler eager to impress after missing out at the weekend suspended, the Royal Blues had an added touch of quality in attack.

Defensively, though, Schalke remain under strength and despite the best efforts of Roman Neustädter, a midfielder by trade, to fill the void left by injured captain Benedikt Höwedes, holes were appearing. Maribor took full advantage on 38 minutes as Mitja Viler scurried in behind before squaring for Bohar to break the deadlock.

Schalke had been criticised for not taking so-called smaller opposition seriously enough this term and the opening goal seemed to suggest there might be substance to the claim, though they soon levelled after the interval as Viler inexplicably presented Huntelaar with the ball. The Dutchman still had work to do, working himself a yard of space on the edge of the box before squeezing his finish past Jasmin Handanović.

The enthusiastic Draxler had an excellent chance to win it for the hosts when he spun and shot on the penalty spot, but Handanović remained alert and made further saves to deny Kevin-Prince Boateng and Draxler again, ensuring both clubs came away with a point.

Top