BERLIN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund struggled to a 1-1 draw at Nuremberg on Saturday that ended their perfect start to the season of five straight league wins.
Despite several changes to the team that lost 2-1 at Napoli in the Champions League in midweek, Dortmund, who stay top of the Bundesliga table with 16 points, were initially the better side.
With top striker Robert Lewandowski and midfielder Nuri Sahin on the bench and defender Mats Hummels injured, coach Juergen Klopp brought in youngsters Marvin Duksch and Erik Durm.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 37th minute with a fierce free kick from Marcel Schmelzer.
Nuremberg, who have yet to win this season, grew bolder in the second half and secured an equaliser in the 51st minute with Per Nilsson's close-range effort after Dortmund defenders failed to clear a free kick.
Dortmund pushed forward but failed to carve out a second despite some frantic attacking, and it was Nuremberg who almost grabbed an unexpected winner when Alexander Esswein raced clear but fired over the bar in stoppage time.
Bayer Leverkusen moved up to second place on 15 points, shrugging off their own Champions League defeat to Manchester United, by demolishing Mainz 05 4-1 with two goals from Australian Robbie Kruse.
Leverkusen are one point behind Dortmund and two ahead of third-placed Bayern Munich, who travel to Schalke 04 later on Saturday.
Hamburg SV, the only team to have played in the Bundesliga every season since its creation in 1963, headed deeper into crisis after losing their northern derby against visitors Werder Bremen 2-0 after a Nils Petersen double.
Hamburg, who sacked coach Thorsten Fink on Monday, dropped to third-from-bottom on four points while Bremen, in ninth place, have nine.
Croat striker Ivica Olic struck once either side of half-time to help VfL Wolfsburg fight back from a goal down and beat Hoffenheim 2-1 to move up to sixth place.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Stephen Wood)
- Sports & Recreation
- Borussia Dortmund
- Robert Lewandowski
- Mats Hummels