TITLE RACE ALL BUT OVER

Leipzig col­lapse again with Bay­ern out of sight

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BERLIN

SEC­OND-PLACED RB Leipzig crashed 3-0 at Werder Bre­men on Satur­day to suf­fer a shock suc­ces­sive Bun­desliga de­feat and al­low Bay­ern Mu­nich the chance to ex­tend their ru­n­away lead to a mam­moth 13 points.

The Bavar­ian giants started the week­end 10 points clear in their seem­ingly un­stop­pable march to a fifth straight Ger­man league title, which will be­come lucky 13 if they had won at Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach late yes­ter­day.

Hav­ing be­gun their first Bun­desliga sea­son with a record 13match un­beaten run, Leipzig’s title chal­lenge has col­lapsed fol­low­ing four de­feats in their last seven games, tak­ing a mea­gre seven points.

“We started well, but then you con­cede your first goal with their first shot,” said Leipzig’s coach Ralph Hasen­huettl.

“We can’t rely upon the mo­men­tum, that rub of luck, like we could in the first half of the sea­son.”

After los­ing 1-0 at home to Wolfs­burg last week­end, Leipzig folded again in Bre­men as Werder’s Aus­tria in­ter­na­tional Zlatko Junuzovic scored their first goal and set up their sec­ond.

The dead-ball ex­pert crashed home a curl­ing, thun­der­bolt goal from out­side the area on 34 min­utes, then pro­vided the free-kick which saw rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened Bre­men dou­ble their lead.

Junuzovic spot­ted Flo­rian Gril­litsch un­marked on the edge of the area and the at­tack­ing mid­fielder beat Leipzig goal­keeper Peter Gu­lacsi on 59 min­utes.

Leipzig’s hu­mil­i­a­tion was com­plete as their de­fence ca­pit­u­lated when

match un­beaten run at the start by Leipzig

de­feats in their last 7 games in the

Bun­desliga Bre­men’s Fin Bar­tels led a coun­ter­at­tack and Flo­rian Kainz tapped home on 90 min­utes.

All three Bre­men goals were scored by Aus­tri­ans — an ex­tra­bit­ter pill for RB, who are spon­sored by Aus­tria’s en­ergy drinks gi­ant Red Bull.

Leipzig are now just three points ahead of third-placed Borus­sia Dort­mund after Dort­mund’s lack­lus­tre 1-0 home win over In­gol­stadt on Fri­day.

Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang, the league’s top scorer, hit the win­ner.

Anthony Modeste claimed a hat-trick as Cologne broke into the top six with a 4-2 win over Hertha Berlin.

The French­man needed less than 30 min­utes to claim his sec­ond hat-trick of the sea­son after also net­ting three against Ham­burg last Oc­to­ber.

Ja­pan striker Yuya Osako gave Cologne an early lead, then set up Modeste’s first goal on 35 min­utes.

His sec­ond fol­lowed two min­utes later as the French­man showed some ice-cool fin­ish­ing to make it 3-0 to the hosts.

Hertha’s top scorer Vedad Ibi­se­vic pulled a goal back on 50 min­utes when he con­verted a penalty after Cologne’s goal­keeper Timo Horn fouled Berlin mid­fielder Nik­las Stark in the area.

Modeste wrapped up his hat­trick by fin­ish­ing off a su­perb Cologne counter on 63 min­utes, then Hertha’s US in­ter­na­tional John Brooks headed home to make it 4-2 with 20 min­utes left.

Fresh from their mid-week Cham­pi­ons League exit at Atletico Madrid, Bayer Lev­erkusen suf­fered a 1-0 de­feat at Hof­fen­heim thanks to San­dro Wag­ner’s sec­ond-half goal for the hosts.

Mario Gomez scored Wolfs­burg’s win­ner for the sec­ond week run­ning when he slot­ted home on the stroke of half time to seal a 1-0 vic­tory over bot­tom side In­gol­stadt.

Mid-ta­ble Augs­burg were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg.

Greek de­fender Kon­stanti­nos Stafy­lidis equalised for Augs­burg in the first half after Freiburg’s Flo­rian Nieder­lech­ner had con­verted a penalty.

Ham­burg re­main third from bot­tom but picked up a valu­able point in their goal­less draw at Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt.

Ham­burg are eight points away from an au­to­matic rel­e­ga­tion spot and their cur­rent plac­ing of 16th car­ries a two-legged play-off against the team who fin­ish third from top in the sec­ond tier to de­cide who plays in the top flight next sea­son. AFP

EPA PIC

Bre­men’s Theodor Ge­bre Se­lassie (left) and Zlatko Ju­ni­zovic (right) bat­tle for the ball with Leipzig’s Mar­cel Sab­itzer (sec­ond from left) and Mar­cel Hal­sten­berg on Satur­day.

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