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Saturday, September 13, 2008
Schalke throw away lead in Ruhr derby

BERLIN, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Careless Schalke 04 led by three goals but ended up having to settle for a 3-3 draw at Ruhr rivals Borussia Dortmund after a frantic finale on Saturday.

Schalke, who had two players sent off amid the Dortmund fightback, lost the league leadership in Germany along with their big lead as Hamburg SV completed a great fightback of their own to win 3-2 at home to Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich enjoyed a far more leisurely afternoon as two goals from Italian striker Luca Toni set them on their way to their second successive Bundesliga win, 3-0 away to Cologne. Lukas Podolski got the third goal, against his former club.

With four matches played, Hamburg lead with 10 points, followed by Bayern, Schalke and Dortmund on eight.

On a day of great attacking football in Germany, the place to be was Dortmund's Westfalenstadion where 80,000 fans roared the home side to a draw they will savour more than many a win.

Schalke took the lead when the referee decided Neven Subotic had handled in the area, giving Peru striker Jefferson Farfan the chance to step up and mark his debut with a penalty.

Rafinha rifled in a second for Schalke after a swift break down the right towards the end of the half and Heiko Westermann's header made it 3-0 nine minutes after the break.

Dortmund gave themselves a lifeline when Subotic atoned for his error in defence with a powerful header in the 67th minute.

Alex Frei then struck from long range to make it 3-2 and Schalke made life harder for themselves when Christian Pander picked up a needless second booking and Fabian Ernst followed him off four minutes later for a horrendous late tackle.

There were still 13 minutes to go but Schalke might have held on but for a very harsh handball decision that left Frei free to lash in the equalising penalty a minute from time.

It was a desperate end to the match for Schalke keeper Ralf Faehrmann, who was making his debut at the age of 19.

The result meant Hamburg got full value for their 3-2 win at home to Leverkusen, who had looked good for a 2-0 lead courtesy of Tranquillo Barnetta and Patrick Helmes, the latter supplying a neat chip to finish off a quick break from deep.

Paolo Guerrero's header reduced the arrears and Hamburg were right back in it when Leverkusen had Manuel Friedrich sent off five minutes before the break.

Ivica Olic drilled in the equaliser after the restart and Mladen Petric sent Hamburg top with a tap-in in the 72nd minute.

"Getting one back before the break was key," said Hamburg coach Martin Jol. "I knew then it was possible."

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