Bayern Munich are not atop of the Bundesliga this evening.
The defending champions, who have ruled the league so often that you might be excused for thinking the standings are pre-printed with the Bavarians listed first, failed to build on an early lead Saturday night in Gelsenkirchen, surrendered a tying goal midway through the second half and wound up sharing the points with host Schalke in a 1-1 draw.
There was almost a second in the 21st minute when Xherdan Shaqiri’s strong run down the inside left channel gave him a clean look, but his shot to the far post just went wide with keeper Ralf Fahrmann beaten.
But, as last week’s opener against Wolfsburg, Bayern failed to take complete hold of the match and gradually were under pressure.
Schalke’s best chance of the opening half came when Manuel Neuer raced 40 yards out of his goal to beat Max Meyer to a possible breakaway chance. Neuer’s clearance went straight to Kaan Ayhan, but the back could not find the open net from long range, his shot curling away wide to the right.
With the home side looking more creative after the interval, Josep Guardiola sent in Juan Bernat for Mario Gotze to strengthen the back. He also swapped out Jerome Boateng for Dante just before the hour. Guardiola had wasted no time in getting Xabi Alonso onto the field, starting the ex-Real Madrid midfielder just days after acquiring him to strengthen the Bayern spine, but while the moves recognized the growing danger they could not prevent Schalke from getting even.
Schalke was spreading its attack, aiming usually for Sidney Sam, Julian Draxler or Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and finally got even in the 62nd minute when a long Sam free kick floated into the box where Choupo-Moting got a foot on it while colliding with Dante. The ball flew across Neuer, Alonso tried to hook it out but his attempted clearance hit Benedikt Howedes a yard from goal and wound up in the back of the net. Neuer and his defenders raced to the assistant to claim a foul or offside on the play, but the goal from Neuer’s World Cup teammate’s equalizer stood.
For Schalke the draw was their first positive result of the new season. After being knocked out of the German Cup, they had lost their opener last weekend at Hannover so this first point of the campaign was welcome.
Alonso played 67 minutes before yielding his place to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, looking every bit like a player who will help the defending champions as he settles into his new club.