Stuttgart held by Schalke in Bundesliga opener


Stuttgart : Champions VfB Stuttgart came from behind but eventually had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Schalke 04 in a Bundesliga season-opener match here.

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Sami Khedira’s low shot in the 63rd and a penalty from Pavel Pardo four minutes later gave Stuttgart a 2-1 advantage. But newly hired teenager Ivan Raketic salvaged the draw for Schalke in the 76th from the edge of the area Friday night.

Schalke led 1-0 from a deflected shot by Levan Kobiashvili in the 25th minute.

Schalke could have all but sealed the match had Fabian Ernst made it 2-0 in the 57th but his short-range effort was well saved by goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer. Stuttgart came close to what would have been a 3-1 lead, with Serdar Tasci’s header tipped over the bar by Manuel Neuer.

“It’s frustrating to concede the goal after we turned around the match. But we will get wins if we continue playing like this,” said Stuttgart striker Cacau.

Schalke coach Mirko Slomka said: “It was a great season-opener. We could have scored a second goal but must be happy that we came back to salvage the draw.”

Stuttgart stole the title from Schalke in the final two rounds of play last season. The two teams, as well as Werder Bremen, are seen as fancied teams again but the top picks are Bayern Munich after investing big in such stars as Franck Ribery and Miroslav Klose.