Schalke in dreamland after matching leaders Bayern
Schalke 04 boss Huub Stevens admitted he was in dreamland as the Royal Blues drew level with German league leaders Bayern Munich with a 3-1 win over Stuttgart on Saturday.
Moenchengladbach's 3-1 victory over Bayern on Friday night blew the Bundesliga wide open and Schalke seized the chance to match Munich on 37 points, but the Bavarians stay top due to their superior goal difference.
A goal after just three minutes from Schalke's 20-year-old Cameroon midfielder Joel Matip put the Royal Blues ahead against the 2007 champions before Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos headed home on 57 minutes.
Schalke's 18-year-old midfielder Julian Draxler then scored his side's third with 10 minutes left after being set up by Holland striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Stuttgart's Japan striker Shinji Okazaki scored a consolation goal three minutes from time.
"I was surprised how strong we were at the start of the game," said Stevens. "We played tactically very well and only our chances to counter-attack went begging, that is my only criticism.
"I know we have the same amount of points as Bayern and it's nice to dream."
Werder Bremen remain fifth after their goalless draw at Kaiserslautern on Saturday night.
Nuremberg beat Hertha Berlin 2-0, while Wolfsburg striker Sebastian Polter scored his second goal in two games to give Wolves a 1-0 win over Cologne.
Hoffenheim against Hanover finished goalless while Nuremberg striker Alexander Esswein scored his side's winner at home to Berlin before defender Dominic Maroh added the second.
It was the first league game for Hertha's new coach Michael Skibbe following the sacking of Markus Babbel before Christmas after falling out with Berlin's bosses over his future plans.
Freiburg proved there is life without Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse, who joined Newcastle United during the winter break, when they earned a 1-0 win over Augsburg with a late header from Matthias Ginter.
With both sides in the relegation places, the result lifted Freiburg up to 17th and put Augsburg on the bottom of the table.
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund can join Schalke and Bayern in a three-way tie at the top if they win at Hamburg on Sunday.
There was more bad news for Bayern Munich on Saturday when it emerged defender Daniel van Buyten would be out for up to eight weeks after the Belgium centre-back broke the metatarsal bone in his foot.
Goals by Gladbach's rising star Marco Reus, who will join Dortmund next season, and winger Patrick Herrmann gave the hosts a 3-0 lead before Munich scored a late consolation through vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Bayern's stars were highly self-critical after the defeat, but they will finish the weekend top of the table regardless of the other results.
"We're not yet where we need to be," said Dutch winger Arjen Robben.
Munich welcomed back Schweinsteiger for the first time in 11 weeks since he broke his collarbone, but he was far from impressed with his team's performance.
"We have seen that we must do something. We need to flick the switch quickly. We are simply committing too many faults in our game," said Schweinsteiger.
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