Hincapie sends Leverkusen past Leipzig with injury-time winner

Leipzig’s Austrian midfielder #24 Xaver Schlager, Bayer Leverkusen’s German midfielder #07 Jonas Hofmann and Leipzig’s French defender #23 Castello Lukeba vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen in Leipzig on January 20, 2024. AFP

Piero Hincapie scored in injury time to take Bayer Leverkusen to a battling 3-2 win at RB Leipzig on Saturday, extending their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to seven points.

Leverkusen came from behind twice in the match, which looked to be headed for a draw until Hincapie got a boot to an Alex Grimaldo corner for the winner.

Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso jumped with joy, securing a valuable three points against a top-four rival, although second-placed Bayern Munich have played two games fewer.

“We don’t always have to win like that but of course we’d love to get a couple of victories in that way,” said Leverkusen’s Jonas Hofmann.

Alonso’s unbeaten side have now won 24 and drawn three of 27 games this season.

Leipzig sensation Xavi Simons gave the home side a stunning early lead after just seven minutes.

The 20-year-old collected a pass and chipped upwards, spinning 360 degrees before knocking the ball into the corner of the goal.

Leipzig held their lead for the rest of the first half but Leverkusen equalised swiftly in the second, Nathan Tella tapping in a low cross from Grimaldo.

Leipzig scored next, Lois Openda finding the net after a length-of-the-field counter-attack.

Germany defender Jonathan Tah headed in a corner just seven minutes later to level the scores, setting the match up for a grandstand finish.

Chocolate protest

Donyell Malen scored a brace as Borussia Dortmund beat Cologne 4-0 in a match delayed for eight minutes after protesting fans threw chocolate coins in gold foil onto the pitch.

Malen curled in a Julian Brandt cross to give Dortmund the lead after 12 minutes, immediately before supporters of both sides began their planned protest action.

Fans objected to the German FA’s decision to allow greater foreign investment in the game. Players from both sides worked alongside stadium attendants to remove the coins from the pitch.

The sides went into half-time after eight added minutes, Dortmund in control with a 1-0 lead.

Jadon Sancho, returned to the starting XI after a successful stint off the bench last week after rejoining the club on loan from Manchester United, won Dortmund a penalty early in the second-half, going down after contact from Rasmus Carstensen.

Niclas Fuellkrug converted to double Dortmund’s lead.

“Jadon would have also converted the spot kick, but he can score his next week,” Fuellkrug told Sky Germany,

Malen added another shortly after, running onto a superb pass from Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen to score his second.

Teenage striker Youssoufa Moukoko added a fourth in injury time to seal a second-straight victory for the visitors.

Bochum won 1-0 at home against Stuttgart in a match delayed by 40 minutes after visiting fans refused to move flags blocking fire exits.

Referee Bastian Dankert delayed the restart after half-time due to the flags, with scores locked at 0-0.

The match resumed after a 40-minute delay but the Stuttgart fans’ efforts did not have the desired effect on the pitch, Bochum’s Matus Bero scoring shortly after resumption.

Third-placed Stuttgart have now tasted defeat in each of the four times they have taken the field without star striker Serhou Guirassy, who is currently on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Guinea.

Elsewhere, 10-man Freiburg downed Hoffenheim 3-2 at home to close in on the European placings.

Freiburg raced to a two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Lucas Hoeler and Vincenzo Grifo.

Hoffenheim pegged them back however through goals from Wout Weghorst and Max Beier to level the scores.

The home side were reduced to ten men when Manuel Gulde picked up a second yellow, but the setback galvanised Freiburg, who scored the winner shortly after through Roland Sallai.

Eintracht Frankfurt also surrendered a two-goal lead but were unable to find a winner, drawing 2-2 away at Darmstadt.

Darmstadt’s Christoph Klarer scored in the fifth-minute of injury time to earn the last-placed home side a valuable point against their local rivals.

Wolfsburg’s recent struggles continued, with Niko Kovac’s men held 1-1 at Heidenheim.

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