Berlin, Oct 6: Jonas Hector's last-grasp goal helped a struggling Cologne side to play out a 1-1 stalemate with Schalke in the seventh round of Bundesliga.
The "Royal Blues" were unable to benefit from Bayern's defeat and to grab the Bundesliga top spot for the first time since March 2010 as Hector cancelled out Suat Serdar's opener to end Schalke's winning run.
Both sides staged a slow start into the encounter and failed to create clear-cut goal scoring opportunities in the opening period on Saturday.
The spectators had to wait until the 21st minute before they came to see the first chance of the game when Kingsley Ehizibue failed to beat Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel with a header from very close range.
Cologne's chance was a wakening call for the hosts, who produced their first chance ten minutes later with a helping hand from Hector, whose clearance by header rattled the woodwork.
It remained the only chance of the first half as each side lacked ideas to overcome the defence.
After the restart, Schalke took the reins and came close through Guido Burgstaller, who missed the target from promising position in the 54th minute.
Cologne responded with two chances through Simon Terodde before Schalke eventually broke the deadlock in the 71st minute after Serdar nodded home a flicked on cross at the far post.
The hosts squandered two chances in the closing period but neither substitute Weston McKennie nor Burgstaller were able to kill the game.
Cologne threw everything up front and pressed for the equalizer but Schalke goalie Nubel was on guard to deny Anthony Modeste the golden chance with a diving safe in the dying minutes of the game.
However, Schalke's goalkeeper was hapless when Hector headed home the subsequent corner kick to restore parity in the stoppage time.
With the draw, Schalke continue in the fourth place whereas Cologne remain stuck on the 17th of the Bundesliga standings.
The following fixtures conclude the 7th round on Sunday: Borussia Monchengladbach host Augsburg, Wolfsburg clash with newly promoted Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt see Werder Bremen. (UNI-Xinhua)