BERLIN, Germany ● Bayern Munich were unable to break champions Borussia Dortmund’s stranglehold in a 1-1 draw on Saturday as their lead at the top of the Bundesliga was trimmed back to eight points.
Bayern had lost their last four league meetings with Dortmund but had looked on course for victory when Toni Kroos gave them a 67th-minute lead.
However, Mario Goetze equalised for Dortmund in the 74th minute as the spoils were shared.
Third-placed Dortmund improved to 27 points to remain 11 points behind Bayern while Bayer Leverkusen, in second spot, are second on 30 points after their 1-0 win earlier Saturday over Nuremberg.
“I would swap the goal for a victory,” said Kroos. “I think we did enough to get the victory, and we deserved to win.”
Dortmund’s defence did a good job keeping the Bayern attack in check throughout the first half.
But Bayern, that may lose Badtuber for a long time with a knee injury, took the lead in the 67th minute with a wonderful individual effort by Kroos, who collected a ball from Thomas Mueller, danced past two defenders before blasting a low left foot shot into the far right corner.
Dortmund equalised seven minutes later as Marco Reus’ corner from the right side was headed away by Mario Mandzukic but directly to Goetze, who chested the ball down and struck into the corner of the net.
Bayern had a series of chances in the final five minutes but Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller would not let his team down.
“I think we could have taken more. But we are satisfied with the one point. The championship is not decided. We saw today that we can keep track with this team,” said Weidenfeller.
Leverkusen did just enough to beat Nuremberg 1-0 as Stefan Kiessling found the target in the 37th minute for the team’s fourth straight victory.
“We have to remain calm and happy that we have a little streak,” said Kiessling, who has scored nine goals this season.
“It’s a nice moment but we have a lot of important games ahead of us and we don’t want to think about Bayern. We have to worry about ourselves, and that’s it.”
Schalke’s struggles continued with a 1-1 at home against Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Timo Hildebrand replaced Lars Unnerstall as Schalke’s keeper and looked less than impressive on Igor de Camargo’s goal for Gladbach in the 62nd minute.
Julian Draxler equalised for Schalke in the 85th minute.
“We were relieved to have at least picked up the point. If we had lost things would have been bad here,” said Draxler.
Schalke, however, have not won in four games and improved to just 25 points while Gladbach have 21 points.
“The point was deserved. Schalke played well. But to get a point at Schalke is not too bad,” said Gladbach coach Lucien Lavre.
Adam Szalai’s goal in the 89th minute gave 10-man Mainz a 2-1 victory at home over Hannover in a battle of teams fighting for European spots.
Nicolai Mueller scored on a loose ball after Shawn Parker’s shot hit the post after 10 minutes for Mainz but was equalised by Christian Schulz for Hannover.
Mainz lost their keeper four minutes after the break when Christian Wetklo was red-carded but Szalai provided the heroics.
Stuttgart picked up their third victory in the last four games by fending off Greuther Fuerth on the road 1-0 thanks to Shinji Okazaki’s goal in the 45th minute.
Stuttgart played the final 37 minutes a man down as Serdar Tasci was shown a red card.
Fuerth dropped to last place in the table with eight points.
Eintracht Frankfurt missed a chance to keep track with the top challengers by losing 4-0 at Fortuna Duesseldorf on Friday to remain on 24 points.
Second-bottom Augsburg picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at home against Freiburg with Tobias Werner’s goal being equalised by Jonathan Schmid.