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Leagues: Bundesliga

Leverkusen sub Paulinho strikes twice to sink Wolfsburg


Berlin (AFP) – Brazilian Paulinho came off the bench to score a late double and give Bayer Leverkusen a morale-boosting 2-0 win at Wolfsburg after a three-match losing streak.

Paulinho came on for the final 10 minutes and changed the game with his first Bundesliga goals for more than two years as Leverkusen reclaimed third place in the table.

The 21-year-old winger embarked on a mazy run to the edge of the Wolfsburg penalty area before hitting the net with four minutes remaining.

He struck again in stoppage time by heading in a Kerem Demirbay cross after being left unmarked in the area.

Leverkusen’s derby defeat at home to Cologne last Sunday was sandwiched between home and away losses to Atalanta in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Leverkusen’s squad has been decimated by injuries over the last seven days.

Dutch right-back Timothy Fosu-Mensah is set to miss the rest of the season after tearing his right hamstring in Thursday’s home defeat to Atalanta.

Both defender Jeremie Frimpong and attacking midfielder Florian Wirtz will miss the rest of the season after damaging ankle and knee ligaments respectively in the loss to Cologne.

Earlier, fourth-placed RB Leipzig were held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

“We are disappointed because of the huge chances we had — normally we take them,” Leipzig coach Domenico Tedesco told DAZN.

Hosts Leipzig had by far the better chances at the Red Bull Arena.

Konrad Laimer hit the Eintracht crossbar in the first half after Mohamed Simakan had a shot saved onto the post.

Christopher Nkunku, who has been called up by France for the first time, went close on several occasions.

Kevin Trapp was superb in the Frankfurt goal, including a second-half save to deny Laimer.

“Trapp did a good job,” said Tedesco.

In the final 10 minutes, substitute striker Yussuf Poulsen dribbled through the defence but was left with his head in his hands after failing to get his shot away.

Three days after needing an extra-time goal to squeeze past Real Betis in the Europa League to book a clash with Barcelona in the quarter-finals, Frankfurt looked jaded, failing to have a single shot on target.

Leipzig last played the previous Sunday having had a full week off due to their bye into the Europa League quarter-finals.

Their last-16 opponents Spartak Moscow were excluded from the competition as part of a ban by UEFA on all Russian clubs following the invasion of Ukraine.

Leipzig have drawn Leverkusen’s vanquishers Atalanta in the Europa League last eight.

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