Dani Olmo’s early brace led RB Leipzig to a 2-0 away win over Hoffenheim at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Friday in Julian Nagelsmann’s return to his old stamping grounds.
Nordi Mukiele and Marcel Sabitzer set up the goals for Leipzig, whose 62 points are one less than second-place Borussia Dortmund and six clear of Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, with the other three sides playing Saturday.
Hoffenheim can now be passed by Freiburg this weekend and fails to pass sixth-place Wolfsburg.
Leipzig’s three losses are the fewest in the Bundesliga, its 11 draws keeping them out of the title fight.
The game began delivering early with hard fouls and a near-wonderful finish from Julian Baumgartner, whose shot swam wide of the Leipzig goal in the fifth minute.
Peter Gulacsi rushed off his line to earn a yellow card and send Hoffenheim to the spot in the sixth minute, but it was rescinded when VAR caught Baumgartner’s handling of the ball in the build-up.
Leipzig got its goal within a minute of the decision, Olmo sliding the ball past Oliver Baumann after a fortunate deflection kept the ball on his path for a cool finish.
Olmo got another in the 11th, lashing a loose ball inside the near post for 2-0.
Hoffenheim put a scare into the scoreboard when Diadie Samasseko leapt onto a loose ball outside the 18, but his outside-of-the-boot scun wide of the frame.
The hosts stayed in the mix and the first half was rather entertaining despite the two-goal gap.
Hoffenheim saw a Gulacsi double stop from close range, the second save a composed one.
Leipzig could’ve put it away in the 44th, but Timo Werner chopped a breakaway over the goal.
It was again close when Werner’s run was offside before feeding Angelino for a 53rd minute finish. Still 2-0.
Amadou Haidara was deprived a highlight reel rocket goal by a flying Baumann, who had four of the match’s nine saves.
Americans Abroad: Tyler Adams entered in the 68th minute for Kevin Kampf. He set up an early chance with a dribble in traffic and was generally calm and composed, completing 14-of-15 passes with one key pass, one clearance, and one-of-one on long balls.
Caretaker boss Marcel Rapp takes over the hosts, who sit two points back of sixth and are bidding to get another European berth. Rapp’s first match is a brutal one, as visiting Leipzig sits third and is smarting after dropping points for the third time, all draws, in five matches. Hoffenheim is also taking a step up in class after four-straight season strugglers (apologies to Hertha Berlin, who has since built on its win). Both teams can defend well, but it seems likely the visitors will find more goals in a 2-1 Leipzig win that strengthens their hold on third.
Fortuna Dusseldorf v. Borussia Dortmund — 9:30 a.m. ET
Lucien Favre’s favored visitors have a seven-point lead on fourth and fifth place with four matches to play. They’ll more or less salt away a top four spot with a win at Fortuna, but don’t count out the scrappy and desperate hosts. Rouwen Hennings has three goals in his last two matches for Fortuna, but BVB’s back line has only been breached thrice in its last nine outings. It’ll be a cagey affair, but BVB wins 3-0 after opening up one of four teams to concede 60 league goals this season.
Hertha Berlin v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 9:30 a.m. ET
The hosts suddenly have Europa League hopes despite a 1-0 loss to Dortmund, one that showed how far its come under Bruno Labbadia. Eintracht is still safe from the drop but looked rough in its midweek cup loss to Bayern. Should be straight-forward for scrappy Hertha in a 2-1 win.
Wolfsburg v. Freiburg — 9:30 a.m. ET
Freiburg — I like to call them Germany’s Burnley — finally got back in the win column with a nice 1-0 over Gladbach. Europe is not at all out of the picture when combining the clubu’s chance to meet sixth-place Wolfsburg after seventh-place Hoffenheim’s visit from Leipzig. It’s a tough match to predict because Wolfsburg’s been all over the map. One week they look top four quality, the next a dud. The safe call is a draw, but Wolfsburg has firepower and perhaps they find it more often than not in a 2-1 home win.
Koln v. Union Berlin — 9:30 a.m. ET
Both sides would feel fairly safe with a win, though neither has done much of it lately. Union’s failure to find goals is the scariest notion between the two sides, so we’ll figure a 1-0 win for safety-sealing Koln even if a nil-nil would surprise few.
Paderborn v. Werder Bremen — 9:30 a.m. ET
This is it for last-place Paderborn, who’ve played much better of late but can slip nine points back of the playoff spot with a loss and Fortuna result versus Dortmund. The latter is unlikely but Paderborn’s odds are still long, too long without a win. Bremen is also in trouble, five points ahead of Bremen and three back of the playoff spot, but has looked much better in recent weeks. A draw clobbers both of them. We like Bremen’s attacking power a bit more. 3-1 to Bremen.
Bayern Munich v. Borussia Monchengladbach — 12:30 p.m. ET
Bayern can win their eighth-straight title with a win if Dortmund drops points at Fortuna earlier Saturday. The defending champs played at midweek, extending its unbeaten streak to 21 matches in all competitions dating back to a 3-1 win over Tottenham on the last day of UCL group stage. Those midweek legs could be a challenge given Gladbach’s desperation to stay in the top four hunt, but the visitors won’t have influential striker Alassane Plea after his red card in a loss at Freiburg. There are still weapons for the visitors but it’s going to be tough to beat the champs in their building. 1-1 draw.
Mainz v. Augsburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Mainz’s win last week made relegation feel very real for several dipping teams including Augsburg. Neither team has been able to find a lot of goals since coming back from the break, but Mainz has been better at the back since shipping five goals to Leipzig. This is a huge chance for Mainz, who will know just how high it climb after watching everyone below and above it play before Sunday. Mainz 1-0.
Schalke v. Bayer Leverkusen — Noon ET Sunday
Bayer played midweek but was able to cruise past Saarbrucken in the German Cup semifinal. If their backs are tired, perhaps Schalke can find a way through, but David Wagner’s men have looked really poor for months (even accounting for the break). If Kai Havertz is ready to go, it might be a blowout. Bayer 2-0.
Bayern Munich cruised past Bayer Leverkusen to move one step closer to sealing an eighth-straight Bundesliga title, while RB Leipzig and Fortuna Dusseldorf were held to frustrating draws and Mainz won at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich have won all five of their games since the restart, scoring 17 goals in the process, and have won 16 of their last 17 games and haven’t lost since mid-December.
Thomas Muller now has 20 Bundesliga assists this season (the league record is 21) and Robert Lewandowski has 44 goals in all competitions as they are powering towards the title.
As for RB Leipzig, they were reduced to 10 men in the first half and almost held on to win but gave up a stoppage time equalizer to basement boys Paderborn which caps off a bad week for the top four hopefuls. Leipzig have now drawn three of their five games since the restart.
Below we roundup all of the action from the Bundesliga on Saturday morning.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Bayern Munich
Bayer, who were missing Kai Havertz and Sven Bender, took the lead in slightly odd circumstances as Alario slotted home but was flagged offside. However, VAR overturned that decision and allowed the goal as he was just onside.
Bayern had allowed their first goal from open play since December.
The virtual crowd go wild, then boo, then go wild.
Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 up against Bayern Munich after VAR rules out the offside decision. Nice finish from Alario. #Bayer04#MiaSanMia
After an end-to-end start, Bayern drew level as Goretzka stole the ball off Moussa Diaby and played in Coman who curled home after running clear to make it 1-1.
Goretzka then made it 2-1 himself, as patient play down the right saw Coman combine with Thomas Muller and he found Goretzka who finished across goal to put Bayern ahead.
Right on half time Gnabry made it 3-1 as Joshua Kimmich’s perfectly-weighted pass over the top found the German winger and he lobbed home to put Bayern firmly in the driving seat.
Both teams had plenty of chances in the second half as Diaby failed to make the most of them for Bayer and Lewandowski headed home to make to 4-1 after Gnabry and Muller went close.
🙌 What an assist from Thomas Muller. His 20th of the season for Bayern Munich. Bundesliga record is 21, set by De Bruyne in 2014-15. Wonderful header from Robert Lewandowski who has 44 goals this season, a new personal record.#MiaSanMia cruising, 4-1 up pic.twitter.com/5qGumDgsww
Leipzig took the lead through Patrik Schick but their job became a lot tougher when Dayot Upamecano was sent off just before half time. USMNT star Tyler Adams played a big role in Leipzig battling away in the second half.
Timo Werner (who looks set to join Chelsea next week) went free on the break but couldn’t finish after rounding the goalkeeper and Leipzig coughed up a goal late on after digging so deep. In stoppage time Christian Strohdiek equalized for Paderborn as the bottom club picked up a morale-boosting point and dented Leipzig’s top four hopes, although Borussia Monchengladbach and Leverkusen both lost in Matchweek 30 too.
A topsy-turvy encounter saw Fortuna take an early lead as Rouwen Hennings made it 1-0 and then Benjamin Hubner was sent off for Hoffenheim to boost Fortuna’s hopes. Hoffenheim equalized soon after that red card, with Moanes Dabour making it 1-1 but then Fortuna thought they had gone right up the other end and made it 2-1 through Hennings… but VAR intervened and ruled it out. Steven Zuber sensationally put Hoffenheim 2-1 up in the second half but Hennings made it 2-2 from the penalty spot and although Fortuna battered Hoffenheim late on, the 10 men held on for a point. A golden opportunity missed for Fortuna to grab a crucial three points in their battle against relegation.
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Mainz
In a battle between teams hoping to stay out of the relegation scrap, Mainz took the lead with Moussa Niakhate finishing just before half time. Mainz doubled their lead through Pierre Kunde as Frankfurt came close to pulling one back but Mainz eased to victory.
Any club within shouting distance declined to raise a hand in protest, with RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach drawing lower-half sides and Bayer Leverkusen forgetting how to defend in a blowout home loss to Wolfsburg.
So now a Bayern team which has not lost in 14 matches, winning 13 of them, will need to fail miserably over the final six matches while someone else will need to take all 18 points available to them.
Bayern’s six remaining matches were enough to think there would be a title fight if Dortmund at least drew the reigning champs but find the eight dropped points that would allow a perfect BVB to pass them:
Saturday – v. Fortuna Dusseldorf
June 6 – at Bayer Leverkusen
June 13 – v. Gladbach
June 16 – at Werder Bremen
June 20 – v. Freiburg
June 27 – at Wolfsburg
Maybe next year, because it’s incredibly unlikely this year.
RB Leipzig won’t have liked Bayern Munich beating Dortmund — it would’ve likely preferred a draw, but it would’ve liked almost everything else it liked on the scoreboard Tuesday.
So to allow an early goal off a set piece to bottom-half (but admittedly in-form) Hertha Berlin and then toss away the good fortune of taking a 2-1 lead despite being down a man is just terrible.
This is a Leipzig side which defends so well and entered the match week having allowed the league’s fewest goals.
“We started well, but fell behind because we defend a set piece like a school team,” Nagelsmann said after the game. “We simply did nothing, everyone is standing in position, yet (Grujic) could finish with his foot in the box. This is the second time in a row in a home game that we conceded from a set piece. We have to blame ourselves for this. We’re happy that we scored another point, but I’m not happy at all.”
Leipzig has a manageable run into the final day aside from a Dortmund visit. Nagelsmann’s boys otherwise face Paderborn, Koln, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Augsburg, and an uneven Hoffenheim. They had some hope of catching Bayern and gaining sharpness for the Champions League, but only the latter looks likely after dropping two points to Hertha
Player of the Week
Austrian youth international Christoph Baumgartner has been moved all over the pitch this season, but he was a wizard in the final third as an attacking midfielder.
Hoffenheim rebounded from a terrible first two matches since the return from the coronavirus pause to beat Koln 3-1 on Wednesday, red cards going to each team.
Baumgartner did his damage early in scoring twice and adding an assist in building a 3-0 lead. He had two key passes, was four-of-four in take-ons, and won eight of 11 duels over 77 minutes.
Still 20 until Aug. 1, Baumgartner six goals and four assists in his first Bundesliga season.
And he’s got audacity for days. Look at this drag and drop assist to Steven Zuber.
Goooooolaaaaazo del Hoffenheim
3-0 al Köln 😱 goleada con una tremenda jugada en el área chica
Grujic (Hertha) — Kimmich (Bayern) — Arnold (Wolfsburg)
Baumgartner (Hoffenheim) — Grifo (Freiburg)
Croatian center back Marin Pongracic was one of several big names to leave Salzburg in January, and the big man delivered for Wolfsburg in a big way with two goals in a 4-1 win over Bayer, also making four clearances, blocking two shots, intercepting two passes and winning four of six duels.
Fortuna needed a win in a bad way, and two come back against Schalke has to feel good. Veteran striker Rouwen Hennings turned back the clock and scored his 12th of the season in the win and first since before Christmas.
Gladbach’s 0-0 draw with Werder Bremen would’ve been worse if not for goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Bremen forced seven saves out of the veteran, who passed at 83 percent and completed 8 of 13 long balls.
Freiburg v. Bayer Leverkusen — 2:30 p.m. ET Friday
Mainz v. Hoffenheim — 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday
Wolfsburg v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday
Schalke v. Werder Bremen — 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday
Hertha Berlin v. Augsburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday
Bayern Munich v. Fortuna Dusseldorf — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Union Berlin — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund — Noon ET Saturday
Koln v. RB Leipzig — 2:30 p.m. ET Monday