Berlin (AFP) – Mario Gomez netted a hat-trick inside seven minutes as Wolfsburg fought back from two goals down to take the lead before Bayer Leverkusen salvaged a point in Sunday’s 3-3 draw.
Germany striker Gomez has now scored six goals in his last four games in the Bundesliga.
The 31-year-old struck his first goal at the BayArena on 80 minutes to spark Wolfsburg’s dramatic fightback, with his team trailing after Karim Bellarabi and Kevin Volland had scored for Leverkusen.
Gomez headed in his second from a corner three minutes later and then drilled home an 87th-minute penalty to put Wolfsburg 3-2 up and leave the hosts stunned.
But 17-year-old Leverkusen starlet Kai Havertz, who is currently taking his pre-university exams, smashed home a dramatic equaliser with a minute to play.
“We can’t be happy with the point, I thought we deserved the win, especially after the way we played in the last 20 minutes,” fumed Gomez.
“But the three goals we conceded were down to three individual mistakes.”
The result leaves Wolfsburg, the 2009 German league champions, just a point above the relegation places with Leverkusen only two points better off.
Earlier, 17th-placed Ingolstadt breathed life into their survival fight as goals by defenders Roman Bregerie and Florent Hadergjonaj sealed a crucial 2-1 home win against Mainz.
It was Ingolstadt’s first victory since mid-February to end a five-match winless streak and comes before next week’s crucial matches against their relegation rivals.
Ingolstadt are second from bottom in Germany’s top flight, seven points adrift of Augsburg in 16th place — which leads to a two-legged play-off to stay up.
The timing of Ingolstadt’s victory is perfect ahead of Wednesday’s crunch match at Augsburg and Saturday’s home tie against bottom side Darmstadt.
French centre-back Bregerie gave Ingolstadt an early lead with a header after 10 minutes from a corner.
Mainz equalised when midfielder Levin Oztunali drilled home a long-range free-kick on 70 minutes, but the scores were level for just three minutes.
– ‘Honest bloke’ –
Swiss winger Hadergjonaj delivered a swift response for Ingolstadt when his intended cross flew over Mainz goalkeeper Jonas Loessl and into the net.
“I am an honest bloke and I just wanted to put in a good cross as I saw one of our players in the middle,” Hadergjonaj told Sky, after netting his first Bundesliga goal.
“The ball just kept on flying and the fact it was the winning goal just makes it even better.
“We haven’t had much luck in the last few weeks, so it was nice that it was on our side for a change.”
The defeat dragged Mainz into the relegation battle, leaving them 14th and only clear of the bottom three on goal difference having lost eight out of their last nine away games.
At the other end of the table, runaway leaders Bayern Munich remained 13 points clear after their 6-0 thrashing of Augsburg as striker Robert Lewandowski hit his third Bundesliga hat-trick this season.
Lewandowski, last season’s Bundesliga top scorer, has 24 league goals this campaign, just like Aubameyang, who scored for Borussia Dortmund in their 1-1 draw at Schalke in the Ruhr Valley derby.
The Poland international has now scored 36 goals in all competitions for Bayern this season.
Lewandowski also proved he can provide goals by setting up Thomas Mueller for Bayern’s second, his backheel then let Thiago Alcantara stab home their fourth.
Second-placed RB Leipzig bounced back from back-to-back defeats with a 4-0 romp against lowly Darmstadt, who had midfielder Sandro Sirigu sent off.
Guinea midfielder Naby Keita, who collapsed after last month’s shock 1-0 defeat to Wolfsburg, marked his return with two goals while playmaker Emil Forsberg and captain Willi Orban also scored.
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