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Bailey fires Leverkusen top as late goal denies winless Schalke

Berlin (AFP) – Jamaica winger Leon Bailey scored twice as Bayer Leverkusen knocked Bayern Munich off the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 win against Hoffenheim on Sunday, while bottom side Schalke saw their winless run stretch to 27 games in a dramatic 2-2 draw with Augsburg. 

Bailey opened the scoring with a scintillating strike early on against Hoffenheim as in-form Leverkusen picked up their seventh win of the season to leapfrog champions Bayern into top spot. 

Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch brushed the bar with a header after just 14 seconds, but it was Leverkusen who landed the first blow on four minutes.

Playing a quick one-two with Nadiem Amiri from a Leverkusen corner, Bailey curled the ball brilliantly into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area. 

A misjudged pass from Andrej Kramaric allowed Bailey to double the lead just before the half-hour mark, rounding stranded goalkeeper Oliver Baumann and slotting the ball into the open goal from 20 yards out. 

Baumann kept his side in the game with a flying save to deny Florian Wirtz just before half-time, and Christoph Baumgartner pulled a goal back with a brilliant long-range strike after the break.

Yet Hoffenheim’s joy was short-lived, as Wirtz danced through the box and beat Baumann with a dainty chip on 55 minutes. 

The visitors’ fate was sealed when both Grillitsch and Stefan Posch were sent off for second yellow cards within 15 minutes, and Lucas Alario added a fourth for Leverkusen with a stoppage-time penalty.

– Schalke’s Uth ‘stable and responsive’ –

Earlier Sunday, Schalke’s hopes of a first win in 27 games were dashed by Marco Richter’s stoppage-time equaliser in a 2-2 draw overshadowed by a serious injury to Mark Uth.

Richter’s late header crowned a heartbreaking evening for Schalke, who remain on course to equal Tasmania Berlin’s notorious, 54-year-old Bundesliga record of 31 games without a win.

Schalke’s misery was compounded by concerns for Uth, who was stretchered from the field unconscious after a clash of heads with Augsburg defender Felix Uduokhai in the 10th minute.

The striker was treated on-field for around 15 minutes before being carried from the pitch attached to a drip and wearing a neck brace.

Schalke later confirmed that the 29-year-old was “stable and responsive” and on his way to hospital, but both sets of players were left visibly shocked by the incident.

“I didn’t realise how serious it was at first, but then I saw him lying on the floor. A lot of things go through your head, I was scared and worried. I am so happy that he is ok,” Uduokhai told Sky. 

After the game resumed with a 15-minute delay, Augsburg took the lead from a corner in the 32nd minute, Suat Serdar accidentally heading the ball into his own net.

Benito Raman levelled the scores with a delicate chip over goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz on 52 minutes, before a second yellow card for Florian Niederlechner dealt another blow to Augsburg moments later. 

Serdar then redeemed himself as he fired a low cross towards Nassim Boujellab, who smashed the ball past Gikiewicz to give Schalke the lead.

Yet Richter dashed hopes of a first league win since January 17 when he flicked a Michael Gregoritsch cross past Ralf Faehrmann two minutes from time to save a point for 10-man Augsburg.

The draw leaves Schalke bottom of the league, with just four points from 11 games this season.

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