Berlin (AFP) – James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski scored as Bayern Munich went top of the Bundesliga table on Saturday with a 2-0 home win against RB Leipzig, who played most of the game with 10 men.
This was Bayern’s second win over RB in four days after they won on penalties in Leipzig in midweek in the German Cup.
Leipzig had Naby Keita sent off in the second half of that game and another red card handicapped them at the Allianz Arena, with captain Willi Orban being dismissed after just 13 minutes.
Orban was shown a straight red card for fouling Arjen Robben, who was through on goal, before James and Lewandowski netted for the hosts.
A fine evening for Bayern was marred by a thigh injury to Lewandowski that forced him off before half-time and which could compromise his chances of playing in Tuesday’s Champions League match at Celtic.
Nevertheless, the victory takes Bayern top of the Bundesliga for the first time this season, three points ahead of Borussia Dortmund who earlier crashed 4-2 at Hanover 96.
Leipzig remain third, four points behind the leaders.
They were looking to avenge Wednesday’s German Cup defeat but were quickly reduced to 10 men when Robben went to ground after a push from Orban on the edge of the area.
The referee checked the video before getting out the red card, just before Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi pulled off a stunning save to deny stand-in captain Robben from the resulting free kick.
Nevertheless, Bayern took the lead five minutes later when Robben’s cross was smashed home by James.
Lewandowski made it 2-0 on 38 minutes when a perfectly-timed pass by Javi Martinez was finished by the Poland hot-shot.
After Lewandowski limped off, Bayern struggled to finish their chances after the break while Leipzig defended doggedly.
The visitors were then reduced to nine men for the final five minutes when Keita limped off after they had already made their three substitutions.
– Dortmund crash –
Earlier, Dortmund had teenage defender Dan-Axel Zagadou sent off in their shock defeat at Hanover, which leaves them winless in three Bundesliga games.
Togo striker Ihlas Bebou scored twice for Hanover as Dortmund were picked off on the counter-attack.
The defeat is the last thing coach Peter Bosz needed before Wednesday’s Champions League home match against APOEL and next Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with Bayern.
Hanover took the lead on 20 minutes when Brazilian striker Jonathas converted a penalty, but Dortmund equalised seven minutes later through Zagadou after a mistake in the hosts’ defence.
However, Dortmund were caught on the break five minutes before the break when Felix Klaus released Jonathas, whose final pass found Bebou to fire home.
Dortmund levelled for a second time through Andrey Yarmolenko, but Zagadou, 18, was sent off on the hour after bringing down Jonathas, who was through on goal.
Klaus rifled home the resulting free-kick for Hanover’s third goal before Bebou’s second of the game secured the points late on as the newly-promoted side climbed to fourth.