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Bundesliga leader Leverkusen continued their winning streak in Leipzig

Bundesliga leader Leverkusen continued their winning streak in Leipzig
Xaver Schlager (right) and Leipzig lost out against Leverkusen.
Image: APA/AFP/RONNY HARTMANN

Xaver Schlager and Co. were in the lead twice in the top game of the 18th round on Saturday, including an assist from the ÖFB team player, but left the pitch as a 2-3 loser after a late goal from Piero Hincapie (91st). Thanks to their fifth competitive game win in a row, Leverkusen are currently seven points ahead of their pursuers Bayern Munich, who are two games behind.

Leipzig, without a win in three games, missed the jump to fourth place and was unable to benefit from a 1-0 defeat by third-placed VfB Stuttgart at VfL Bochum. Fifth place Borussia Dortmund drew level with the “Bulls” on points thanks to a clear 4-0 win at 1. FC Köln. Frankfurt stayed in sixth place, but missed out on their second win in a row with a 2-2 draw at bottom side SV Darmstadt after the return of ÖFB team striker Sasa Kalajdzic to the German upper house.

The 26-year-old managed “one and a half” assists. On the other hand, Christoph Klarer saved his team from defeat with a goal in the 95th minute. Seventh-placed SC Freiburg drew level with Frankfurt on points with a 3-2 win against eighth-placed TSG Hoffenheim. 1. FC Heidenheim (9th) and VfL Wolfsburg (10th) shared the points in a 1-1 draw.

Leipzig took the lead with a remarkable goal from Xavi Simons, who was served by Schlager (8th). After Nathan Tella’s equalizer (47th), it was Lois Openda (56th) who made the home fans celebrate again. Jonathan Tah (63′), who also prevailed against hitters after a standard situation, and Hincapie turned things around. This succeeded Leverkusen As was the case last week, the winning goal was only scored in stoppage time. The unbeaten streak has now been extended to 27 league games. The downer was the absence of Jeremie Frimpong due to injury. Nicolas Seiwald played for Leipzig until the 74th minute, when Christoph Baumgartner was substituted.

For Frankfurt ran in Darmstadt everything according to plan. Kalajdzic initiated Niels Nkounkou’s first goal (33′) and provided exemplary preparatory work for Ansgar Knauff (51′) to make it 2-0, who just had to push the ball over the line. Julian Justvan (61′) created tension with the connecting goal and when Kalajdzic (until the 89′) had already been replaced, Klarer secured the home side a point. The 23-year-old central defender shone at the other end of the field as a goal getter in the penalty area, converting a cross with his left. For the ex-ÖFB U21 team player it was the first goal in the 17th game in the upper house.

Nevertheless, the winless streak of the bottom of the table, tied behind Mainz and Cologne, has now reached eleven games. Frankfurt, on the other hand, got seven points from the last three games, with Kalajdzic’s comeback in the Bundesliga last being a 1-0 win in Leipzig. Like Kalajdzic, Florian Grillitsch also managed an assist. Maximilian Beier converted a long shot from the central defender Hoffenheim 2:2 (77). A little later there was nothing to celebrate, as Roland Sallai (85th) was there for them Freiburg became the match winner. Michael Gregoritsch, who played through the attack, was also happy about that.

Dortmund was also in without the missing Mats Hummels and Emre Can Cologne safe. Donyell Malen (12th, 61st), Niclas Füllkrug (58th/penalty) and Youssouffa Moukoko (92nd) ensured clear conditions in favor of Dortmund, where Jadon Sacho made his starting eleven comeback after his return from Manchester United and also Marcel Sabitzer began. For Cologne, Dejan Ljubicic was replaced in the 62nd minute, Florian Kainz was in action until the 74th minute.

The only hit in Bochum went to the 28-year-old Slovakian Matus Bero (50th). Kevin Stöger was missing from the winners, who were in twelfth place, due to illness. The game was interrupted for around 60 minutes including the break because fan banners had blocked the escape routes. The game against Stuttgart but could be continued after the unusually long break. Protests against the German Football League’s investor plans were also held in the form of posters and banners in other stadiums, including insults against the DFL. In Cologne there was also a break of more than seven minutes after chocolate coins were thrown in the twelfth minute.

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