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Hamburg’s relegation worries remain after Hannover draw

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BERLIN (AP) Hamburger SV failed to ease its relegation worries after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hannover in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

[ MORE: Klopp rips officials over PK calls that aided Spurs draw ]

Filip Kostic prevented an even worse outcome for hosts Hamburg when he scored late to salvage the draw, but Hamburg remains in the drop zone with 13 games left after its eighth match without a win.

Hamburg, the only side to have played every Bundesliga season since the league started in 1963, is three points behind Mainz in the relegation play-off place.

Werder Bremen is level with Mainz but safe as it stands due to a better goal difference. Bremen’s goal difference is also better than Hamburg’s.

Iver Fossum fired Hannover in front after Hamburg failed to properly clear a corner eight minutes before the break.

Bobby Wood missed a good chance to equalize before the home side had a penalty appeal waved away after Kostic went down under Salif Sane’s challenge. Both the referee and video referee felt Sane got the ball.

Ihlas Bebou should have made it 2-0 after the break but goalkeeper Christian Mathenia got the better of their one-on-one.

Hamburg increased its pressure and Kostic equalized with four minutes remaining, scoring at the far post after Sejad Salihovic headed on a free kick.

Hamburg defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos was shown his second yellow card in injury time.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Eintracht Frankfurt missed the chance to go second in the Bundesliga after slumping to a 3-0 defeat at Augsburg on Sunday.

Koo Ja-cheol got the home side off to a good start in the 19th minute, before Michael Gregoritsch and Marco Richter sealed Augsburg’s eighth league win of the season.

The 20-year-old Richter scored his first league goal on only his second appearance for Augsburg, both as a substitute.

The hosts were missing top-scorer Alfred Finnbogason, who is out for around six weeks with a calf injury.

Augsburg climbed to seventh, two points behind Frankfurt, which would have gone to second and a point above Bayer Leverkusen with a win.

Bayern Munich leads by 18 points with 13 rounds remaining.

Bundesliga wrap: Leipzig tops Schalke; Fullkrug thrills in comeback

Peter Steffen/dpa via AP
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Bayern Munich’s 3-1 away win Friday gave the Bundesliga leaders a 14-point lead on the table and put the onus on the chasing pack for the rest of the weekend.

[ MORE: VAR calls at Watford ]

RB Leipzig shaved a point off that advantage with a win on a busy Saturday in Germany.

Hannover 3-2 Mainz

The Bundesliga world belongs to Niclas Fullkrug, and the rest of the league is justing paying his rent.

The visitors went down 2-0 after Mainz got goals from Yoshinori Muto and Alexander Hack, but it’s fortunate for the hosts that German striker Fullkrug carried over his December 2017 form to the new year.

Having scored thrice in the final five matches of the calendar year, Fullkrug netted in the 33rd and 38th minutes Saturday before completing his hat trick with a 75th minute winner.

RB Leipzig 3-1 Schalke

Liverpool may want Naby Keita to arrive before the summer, but he’s still on the pitch and scored a first half goal for his German side.

They might’ve wanted to sell him at half, though, as his needless foul allowed Naldo to score an equalizer in the second frame.

But Timo Werner and Kurt Bruma scored two minutes apart to restore the home hopes, and RBL held on to pull past Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, and — for now — Borussia Dortmund into second place.

Elsewhere
Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg 1-0 Hamburg — Bobby Wood goes 74 mins in loss
Stuttgart 1-0 Hertha Berlin — Own goal the difference
Werder Bremen 1-1 Hoffenheim — USMNT’s Johannsson gets rare time
Koln vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Borussia Dortmund vs. Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 18 14 2 2 40 12 28 7-1-0 7-1-2 44
 RB Leipzig 18 9 4 5 30 26 4 6-2-1 3-2-4 31
 FC Schalke 04 18 8 6 4 29 24 5 5-3-1 3-3-3 30
 Borussia Dortmund 17 8 4 5 39 24 15 4-1-3 4-3-2 28
 Bayer Leverkusen 18 7 7 4 35 26 9 4-4-1 3-3-3 28
 Mönchengladbach 17 8 4 5 27 28 -1 5-2-2 3-2-3 28
 FC Augsburg 18 7 6 5 28 23 5 4-4-2 3-2-3 27
 1899 Hoffenheim 18 7 6 5 28 23 5 5-3-1 2-3-4 27
 Eintracht Frankfurt 18 7 6 5 21 19 2 2-3-4 5-3-1 27
 Hannover 96 18 7 5 6 27 28 -1 5-3-1 2-2-5 26
 Hertha BSC Berlin 18 6 6 6 26 26 0 4-2-3 2-4-3 24
 VfB Stuttgart 18 6 2 10 14 21 -7 6-1-2 0-1-8 20
 SC Freiburg 18 4 8 6 18 32 -14 3-5-1 1-3-5 20
 VfL Wolfsburg 17 3 10 4 21 21 0 2-6-1 1-4-3 19
 FSV Mainz 05 18 4 5 9 21 31 -10 4-1-4 0-4-5 17
 Werder Bremen 18 3 7 8 14 21 -7 2-3-4 1-4-4 16
 Hamburger SV 18 4 3 11 15 26 -11 3-2-4 1-1-7 15
 1. FC Köln 17 1 3 13 10 32 -22 1-1-6 0-2-7 6

Leon Bailey stars but Bayer Leverkusen held 4-4 by Hannover

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BERLIN (AP) Jamaica striker Leon Bailey scored twice after coming on as a substitute but Bayer Leverkusen failed to hang on as Hannover grabbed a 4-4 draw in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to move fourth ]

Bailey, who came on at the break, needed only two minutes to equalize after Hannover had gone 3-2 ahead, and he scored again 20 minutes later to put Leverkusen 4-3 in front.

But the 20-year-old missed another chance to complete a hat trick and Julian Korb scored late for Hannover to draw.

“I had a third chance, and I just know if I had taken that chance it would have been over for them. It’s just unlucky. But that’s football,” said Bailey. “A wise man learns from his mistakes. But a wiser man learns from others’ mistakes.”

Both teams traded goals on an afternoon to forget for the goalkeepers.

“It was worth the entrance price for the spectators,” Korb said.

Julian Brandt fired Leverkusen into an early lead with a brilliant volley but Ihlas Bebou replied straight away with a header for Hannover.

Niclas Fuellkrug put the home side ahead with a penalty, only for Admir Mehmedi to equalize four minutes later for Leverkusen.

Hannover went ahead again after Fuellkrug set up Felix Klaus with his heel before the break, when Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich reacted with two substitutions.

One of them was Bailey, who raced forward to reach Kai Havertz’s through ball and kept his cool to beat Hannover `keeper Philipp Tschauner.

Bailey claimed his sixth goal of the season after the game’s longest stretch without a goal when Mehmedi played him through on a counterattack after a Hannover corner.

But there was further drama to come as Bebou eluded three Leverkusen defenders to set up Korb for Hannover’s equalizer with seven minutes remaining.

Leipzig, level on points with Leverkusen, had the chance to go second again with a win at home against Hertha Berlin later Sunday.

Bundesliga wrap: Heynckes’ Bayern recovers first place

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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Bayern Munich atop the Bundesliga table.

It feels so familiar.

[ MORE: Premier League wrap ]

Borussia Dortmund lost away from home and Bayern handled its business in its fortress to flip the early season script in Germany.

On an American note that will ring a bit hollow following the USMNT’s horrible World Cup qualifying collapse, center back John Brooks is back from a long injury absence and went 90 minutes for Wolfsburg.

Bayern Munich 2-0 RB Leipzig

New coach Jupp Heynckes’ men have reversed their early season floundering, topping their nearest 2016-17 rival and leaping over Borussia Dortmund to lay claim to first in the Bundesliga.

The goals came from James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski. It’s nice to have guys like that on the same roster.

Hannover 4-2 Borussia Dortmund

Togolese midfielder Ihlas Bebou scored twice as Hannover surged to within two points of the visitors with an entertaining win at HDI-Arena. Eighteen year old Dan-Axel Zagadou scored his first goal in the loss, but took a red card with the score 2-2 to hurt the BVB’s chances.

“It’s not what we’re expecting, but me personally and the team aren’t having a good run of late but that’s life and we’re going to turn things around,” said BVB’s USMNT phenom Christian Pulisic, who misplaced 14 of his 31 passes during an off day.

At least one American will be pleased: Hannover assistant boss Steve Cherundolo.

Elsewhere
Mainz 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt — Friday
Hoffenheim 1-3 Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Koln
Schalke 1-1 Wolfsburg
Hertha Berlin 2-1 Hamburg
Werder Bremen vs. Augsburg — 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Stuttgart vs. Freiburg — 1 p.m. ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 10 7 2 1 24 7 17 4-1-0 3-1-1 23
 Borussia Dortmund 10 6 2 2 27 11 16 3-0-1 3-2-1 20
 RB Leipzig 10 6 1 3 16 12 4 3-1-0 3-0-3 19
 Hannover 96 10 5 3 2 14 9 5 3-1-1 2-2-1 18
 FC Schalke 04 10 5 2 3 13 10 3 3-2-1 2-0-2 17
 Mönchengladbach 10 5 2 3 16 18 -2 3-0-2 2-2-1 17
 1899 Hoffenheim 10 4 4 2 17 14 3 3-2-1 1-2-1 16
 Bayer Leverkusen 10 4 3 3 22 15 7 3-2-0 1-1-3 15
 Eintracht Frankfurt 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 1-1-2 3-2-1 15
 Hertha BSC Berlin 10 3 4 3 11 12 -1 3-2-1 0-2-2 13
 FC Augsburg 9 3 3 3 12 10 2 2-1-2 1-2-1 12
 FSV Mainz 05 10 3 2 5 11 16 -5 3-1-2 0-1-3 11
 VfL Wolfsburg 10 1 7 2 10 13 -3 0-4-1 1-3-1 10
 VfB Stuttgart 9 3 1 5 6 11 -5 3-1-0 0-0-5 10
 SC Freiburg 9 1 5 3 6 17 -11 1-4-0 0-1-3 8
 Hamburger SV 10 2 1 7 7 17 -10 1-1-3 1-0-4 7
 Werder Bremen 9 0 5 4 3 9 -6 0-1-3 0-4-1 5
 1. FC Köln 10 0 2 8 4 19 -15 0-1-3 0-1-5 2

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Bundesliga: Leverkusen throttle HSV; Hannover remain unbeaten

Marius Becker/dpa via AP
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BERLIN (AP) Three days after being cleared to play by FIFA, Argentine striker Lucas Alario scored one goal and set up another on his debut for Bayer Leverkusen to beat Hamburger SV 3-0 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Alario struck midway through the first half, converting a cross from Leon Bailey, who also set up Kevin Volland’s opening goal just three minutes before.

A moment of class from Julian Brandt sent Alario through with less than 10 minutes remaining, and the Argentine had the awareness to spot the better-positioned Volland to seal the win.

Alario went off moments later to warm applause from fans.

“The goal is the cream on top. He played very well, scored the goal and combined with others. He worked well coming back and his first goal wasn’t so easy to score,” Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich said.

Alario’s first appearance for Leverkusen was held up when previous club River Plate objected to his transfer through the Argentine soccer association (AFA), which denied his playing rights.

The Buenos Aires-based club contended that Alario’s transfer was invalid as Leverkusen paid his release clause of $28.6 million on Aug. 31, after the Argentine season began, which it said was against FIFA rules.

Leverkusen then took the case to FIFA, which ruled in its favor on Thursday.

Leverkusen’s second win in six games eased the pressure on new coach Herrlich after a difficult start.

Counterpart Markus Gisdol remains in need of a change in fortune, however, after four straight defeats. Hamburg next faces Werder Bremen, Mainz and Bayern Munich.


Cologne fought its way to its first point in a 0-0 draw at promoted Hannover after starting the Bundesliga with five straight defeats.

Now the last-place side hopes it can build on the point.

“The luck will come back and the chances we had today will go in,” Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn said. “We’ll start winning the games again. But the precondition was this performance that we delivered today.”

Peter Stoeger’s side, which has scored only one goal all season, hasn’t netted in its last four league games. That highlighted the extent to which Cologne relied on French striker Anthony Modeste, sold in the offseason in a big-money move to Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian.

Modeste scored 25 Bundesliga goals for Cologne last season. His replacement, former Mainz striker Jhon Cordoba, is yet to score in six games.

“We all have to be satisfied with the draw,” said Hannover general manager Horst Heldt, whose fourth-place side remains one of three unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season.

Hannover coach Andre Breitenreiter remained unbeaten in 15 games across two divisions.