Bundesliga leaders cancel each other out

BERLIN - Hamburg SV and Bayer Leverkusen drew 0-0 on Saturday to remain undefeated at the top of the Bundesliga.

Both teams have 21 points from nine games but Leverkusen are top on goal difference.

Schalke 04, who won 2-1 at struggling VfB Stuttgart, stayed on their heels on 19 points while Bayern Munich notched their first victory in three games with a 2-1 triumph at Freiburg that moved them up to fifth on 15 points.

Hamburg set a frantic early pace before Leverkusen gradually found space in midfield, going close to taking the lead when Gonzalo Castro chipped the ball over keeper Frank Rost only to see it go wide.

The home team's injury woes continued when striker Tolgay-Ali Arslan limped off on 37 minutes, with forwards Paolo Guerrero and Mladen Petric already out with long-term problems.

Bruno Labbadia's Hamburg refused to give up though, surging forward again and going close through Eljero Elia and Marcus Berg.

Tunay Torun, 19, who came on for Arslan, missed the best chance for Hamburg when he failed to hit the target 11 minutes from time before Leverkusen's Sami Hyypia and Stefan Kiessling forced Rost into saves.

"We had to set the pace as Leverkusen waited for our mistakes," Labbadia told reporters. "We invested a lot but could not get the breakthrough because it's hard to replace players like Guerrero and Petric."



Schalke did the bare minimum to edge past Stuttgart with Ivan Rakitic taking advantage of Stefano Celozzi's failure to clear a cross from Rafinha to grab the opening goal in the 24th minute.

Brazilian-born Germany international Cacau levelled on 73 minutes, giving 13th-placed Stuttgart hope of avoiding their fourth defeat in five league matches.

Schalke's Kevin Kuranyi then fired the winner three minutes later after Rafinha found him unmarked on the right.

Bayern needed a scrappy effort from Thomas Mueller and a spectacular own goal from defender Cha Du-ri to sink promoted Freiburg.

Italy striker Luca Toni was in the starting line-up for the first time this season but the Bavarians, without injured Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, were lucky to take the lead three minutes before halftime.

Mueller pounced on a loose ball to score after Toni and Miroslav Klose failed to convert from close range.

South Korean Cha Du-ri made it 2-0 when he wrong-footed keeper Simon Pouplin with a back pass on 68 minutes before Stefan Reisinger pulled a goal back for Freiburg in stoppage time.

Bottom-of-the-table Hertha Berlin continued their dismal run, going down 3-0 at Nuremberg to suffer their eighth defeat in a row.