Berlin (AFP) – Yussuf Poulsen’s late goal gave 10-man RB Leipzig a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday that trimmed Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga table before the leaders played later.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern were hosting Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening as Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — the league’s top scorers — went head-to-head.
But before the heavyweight clash in Munich, second-placed Leipzig reduced the gap at the top to seven points in a dramatic finale against Leverkusen.
RB were reduced to 10 men when captain Willi Orban was sent off for a second yellow card on 88 minutes for a foul on Leverkusen’s Germany forward Kevin Volland.
With a large hint of sarcasm, Leipzig’s 24-year-old centre-back shook hands with the referee before going off having also been booked in the opening exchanges for a challenge on Volland.
But despite the numerical disadvantage, Leipzig claimed the three points through their Scandinavian combination.
Swedish playmaker Emil Forsberg put in the cross — his 16th assist of the season — for Denmark’s Poulsen, who had just come off the bench, to slot home for the dramatic winner.
“We would have been happy with a point, but it was very impressive how the team showed the will to win in added time,” said RB coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.
“Now we’re in a great position for our next game,” he added with RB at home to fifth-placed Freiburg next Saturday.
Leipzig’s victory was a big step towards direct Champions League qualification next season and they are now seven points ahead of third-placed Hoffenheim, who crashed to a 2-1 defeat at Hamburg.
Aaron Hunt stole the show for Hamburg — who are unbeaten in their last nine home league games — with both goals as Hoffenheim suffered only their third defeat this season.
Andrej Kramaric, scorer of the only goal in the midweek win over Bayern, got Hoffenheim’s goal from the penalty spot.
Wolfsburg, the 2009 champions, are just one point above the bottom three after a 4-1 hammering away to mid-table Schalke, for whom Guido Burgstaller netted twice.
Leon Goretzka and Daniel Caligiuri, playing against his former club, got Schalke’s other goals while Germany striker Mario Gomez scored his seventh goal in six games with a late consolation penalty for Wolfsburg.
Mainz are only outside the relegation places on goal difference after their 1-0 defeat at Freiburg, ex-Bayern striker Nils Petersen scoring the second-half winner moments after coming off the bench.
The victory lifted Freiburg into the Europa League places in fifth above Cologne, who lost 3-2 at home to local rivals and fellow European hopefuls Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Captain Lars Stindl scored the winner nine minutes from time for Gladbach after Cologne had twice come from behind to equalise.
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