Leipzig remain on Bayern’s heels in German Bundesliga

Berlin, Jan 29 (IANS) Bayern defended their three-point advantage atop the standings with a 2-1 win over Bremen while runners-up Leipzig came from behind to beat 10-man Hoffenheim at the 18th round in Bundesliga here.

Bayern Munich reaped their 13th straight win in the 101st encounter against Werder Bremen on Saturday to set a new club record. Goals from Arjen Robben and David Alaba helped the Bundesliga leaders to secure the 14th win of the season, reports Xinhua news agency.

The “Green-Whites” started on a highly motivated note and kept the uninspired Bavarians busy. Yet, the hosts lacked in accuracy and wasted opportunities.

Bayern increased their pressure at the half-hour mark and broke the deadlock out of the blue when Franck Ribery rushed down the left wing to pass into the box to find Robben, who poked home the opener with a one-timer into the bottom right with 31 minutes played.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men doubled the lead just before the break as David Alaba curled the ball over the wall into the top right corner following a free kick from 20 meters.

After the restart, Bremen were able to reduce the arrears after Max Kruse overcame Manuel Neuer from close range in the 53rd minute. The hosts gained momentum but Bayern were able to protect their 2-1 lead to the end.

With the result, Bayern stay atop the standings with a three-point advantage whereas 15th-placed Bremen remain at the edge of the relegation zone.

In the other match, Leipzig wrapped up an important 2-1 comeback win over third-placed Hoffenheim, whose unbeaten streak ended.

Timo Werner and Marcel Sabitzer were on target to keep the “Red Bulls” on Bayern’s heels.

Despite being under pressure in the opening period, the visitors from Hoffenheim opened the scoring with 19 minutes into the game.

Sebastian Rudy forced a turn over following a Leipzig corner, allowing Nadiem Amiri to complete a five-pass counter attack.

Leipzig remained unimpressed and responded in the 38th minute as Timo Werner slotted home Naby Keita’s build-up play to restore parity before the half time.

After the restart, things went from bad to worse for the visitors as Sandro Wagner received his marching orders following a rude foul play on Stefan Ilsanker in the 60th minute.

The hosts capitalised on their numerical advantage and snatched the 2-1 winner through Marcel Sabitzer, who unleashed a 22-meter effort to beat Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann in the 77th minute.

With the 13th victory of the season, Leipzig remain second while Hoffenheim slipped from the third to fourth spot.

Elsewhere, Cologne crushed last-placed Darmstadt 6-1 thanks to Yuya Osako’s brace.

Wolfsburg lost 2-1 to Augsburg while Ingolstadt shocked Hamburg 3-1 and Monchengladbach turned the tides from two goals down to beat Leverkusen 3-2.