05.05.2006: Kuranyi keeps Schalke top

German Football
By German Football May 5, 2007 19:25

05.05.2006: Kuranyi keeps Schalke top

Schalke 04 held on to their one-point lead with two games to play in the Bundesliga thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Nuremberg on Saturday, as VfB Stuttgart kept up the heat with a 2-0 win over Mainz.

Bayern Munich’s hopes of playing in the Champions League were effectively ended when they were held to a 1-1 draw at relegated Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Schalke, chasing their first title in the Bundesliga era, finally broke down the Nuremberg defence in the 64th minute when Kevin Kuranyi headed in from a Hamit Altintop cross.

Their nervy win was enough to keep them ahead of Stuttgart, who completed a more comfortable victory at home to Mainz thanks to goals from Fernando Meira and Roberto Hilbert.

With 32 of 34 matches played, Schalke lead with 65 points, followed by Stuttgart on 64. Werder Bremen, third on 60, will need to win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday to stay in with a realistic chance of the title.

Bayern are fourth on 54 points but with Werder enjoying a vastly superior goal difference the Bavarians know already they will have to be content with playing in the UEFA Cup next season.

Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Munich side took the lead with a fine finish from Roy Makaay in the 12th minute. Even that early goal could not give them the shot of confidence they so clearly needed, though, and Gladbach grabbed a point when Peer Kluge turned inside the box and beat Michael Rensing at the far post.

Schalke could be forgiven for going into their game in a delicate frame of mind after their defeat against VfL Bochum last weekend.

They looked tentative early on against Nuremberg — who shared with Schalke the best defensive record in the league going into the game — and there were few clear chances in the first half.

Schalke did go close seven minutes before halftime when Lincoln floated over a free kick and Marcelo Bordon headed just wide at the far post but otherwise there was little to excite the 61,000 full house at the Arena AufSchalke.

The second half continued with the same tension before Altintop powered into space on the right and crossed for Kuranyi to get in just ahead of his marker and head home his 15th league goal of the season.

Schalke last won a German championship in the pre-Bundesliga, amateur days of 1958 and their chances of taking the title 49 years on could now rest on next weekend’s derby away to resurgent Borussia Dortmund.

Should they fail, Stuttgart look well able to pounce after they racked up their sixth successive league win against Mainz.

German Football
By German Football May 5, 2007 19:25
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