RB Leipzig were left rueing their squandered chance to usurp Bayern Munich as Bundesliga leaders yesterday after being held to a 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg. For the second consecutive Saturday, Leipzig, who lost 3-1 last weekend at home to Borussia Dortmund, missed out on first place.
“It’s tough, you always have to deliver and when you look at the other results, three points would have been great,” Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said. “I am sure Leverkusen and Dortmund would say the same thing,” he added after rivals Leverkusen lost at Union Berlin on Friday while Dortmund drew at home to Mainz yesterday. “There are a lot of good teams in the league and you have to go to your limits each time.”
Embattled Bayern, who crashed to a 3-2 league defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach and were then dumped out of the German Cup in midweek, host Freiburg today. They stay a point ahead in the table.
Nagelsmann’s men got off to a great start when Nordi Mukiele gave them an early lead after converting a pass from Emil Forsberg. However, Wolfsburg roared back with goals from Wout Weghorst and Renato Steffen, which clipped the chest of Leipzig defender Willi Orban on its way into the net. Orban made amends when he tapped home Leipzig’s equaliser in the second half. Fourth-placed Dortmund also dropped points as captain Marco Reus missed a late penalty in their 1-1 draw at home to strugglers Mainz, who climbed off the bottom. “I could have decided the game — I am very, very sorry,” said a crestfallen Reus, who buried his face in his shirt after firing wide 15 minutes before the final whistle. “The disappointment is huge — we wanted to climb the table and we’ve missed the chance to take another step.”
Defender Levin Oztunali gave Mainz the lead when he beat Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki from 20 metres just after half-time. Belgium defender Thomas Meunier equalised, but Dortmund’s 16-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko deserved credit for keeping the ball alive in the area and providing the crucial pass. Reus fired his spot-kick wide after a foul on Meunier in the area.
Union are so far the only top five club to win this weekend after beating third-placed Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 on Friday in Berlin. Leverkusen were the second big name to crash in the capital city after Dortmund lost at Union last month.
Union’s home win was overshadowed by allegations of a racist slur aimed at Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri, which the hosts are investigating.
Amiri, who was born in Germany to Afghan parents, was booked on 90 minutes and had to be restrained after the final whistle during a heated exchange with a group of Union players.
“Nadiem Amiri’s background was insulted. There is no place for that on the pitch here. That is the saddest thing about the whole evening,” Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah told DAZN.
Tah wants the German FA to investigate, “I hope there are consequences”.
Union coach Urs Fischer, who went to Amiri’s aid, said the home side will investigate. “Words were spoken which had no business being on a football pitch,” said the Swiss boss.
“We’ll try to sort this out, but if that is the case, then I apologise for it,” he added following Tah’s allegation.
The incident threatens to cast a shadow over Union claiming another major Bundesliga scalp at home, four weeks after an upset win over Borussia Dortmund.
Having hit the post earlier, Union’s replacement forward Cedric Teuchert sprinted onto a pass which split Leverkusen’s defence and fired home winning goal two minutes from time.
The 24-year-old made amends for squandering a golden chance six minutes after the break when his shot beat Lukas Hradecky, smashed the post and rolled agonisingly along the goalline and away to safety. “I don’t think any teams like playing us here and it’s a lot of fun playing in this team at the moment,” said match-winner Teuchert.
Yesterday, Werder Bremen earned their first home win since October with late goals in a 2-0 win at home to Augsburg. Bremen winger Felix Agu, 21, celebrated his first league start by scoring, then setting up Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie. “There is nothing better, I really enjoyed that,” said Agu, who had played a total of 91 minutes on his three previous league appearances.
Both Hoffenheim at home to Arminia Bielefeld and Cologne home to Hertha Berlin finished in goalless draws with all four teams in the bottom six places.
Borussia Dortmund 1 (Meunier 73) Mainz 05 1 (Oztunali 57); Hoffenheim 0 Arminia Bielefeld 0; VfL Wolfsburg 2 (Weghorst 22, Steffen 35) RB Leipzig 2 (Mukiele 4, Orban 54); Cologne 0 Hertha Berlin 0; Werder Bremen 2 (Gebre Selassie 84, Agu 87) Augsburg 0
Playing today: Bayern Munich v Freiburg (1430 GMT), Eintracht Frankfurt v Schalke (1700)
Played Friday: Union Berlin 1 (Teuchert 88) Bayer Leverkusen 0
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