Freiburg win as RB Leipzig stumble

Freiburg recorded a good 2-1 over Bayer Leverkusen as RB Leipzig were held to a 1-1 draw by FC Schalke 04 in Bundesliga action on Sunday.

Nils Petersen opened the scoring for Freiburg on just 11 minutes ahead of a 60th minute equaliser from Kevin Volland from the penalty spot.

But Pascal Stenzel popped up in the 88th minute to secure all three points for his side.

The result saw Freiburg move back into sixth place on the standings on 44 points, with Leverkusen down in 12th on 36 points.

Petersen had fired Freiburg into an early lead and may well have added a second with a similarly good chance moments later, while Onur Bulut also came close in a tightly-contested affair.

In the day's only other game, RB Leipzig drew 1-1 with Schalke 04 at the VELTINS-Arena.

Timo Werner scored on 14 minutes, only for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to find a 46th minute equaliser, and that is the way it stayed despite a number of chances for both sides.

It was an open start to this game, with Werner doing well to hold off Benedikt Howedes to connect to a Bernardo cross and head home.

Leipzig continued to threaten, but failed to take their chances, and Emil Forsberg would have been disappointed not to make more of a one-on-one at the end of he first half, as Huntelaar headed home the equaliser at the start for the second half, form a Daniel Caliguiri delivery.

Coke headed a 65th free-kick wide before Max Meyer skied his set-piece, while with the game winding down, it became apparent that neither side was willing to lose this tie as they closed up shop.

The result Leipzig left eight points behind league leaders Bayern Munich, who were held to a 2-2 draw with Mainz 05 on Saturday, and Schalke in 11th on 38 points.

Muller targets Dortmund scalp

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller says his side are ready to play through any fatigue to secure a place in the DFB Pokal final, ahead of Wednesday's clash.

Bayern take on domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund on the back of a string of poor results, having been knocked out of the Champions League and succumbing to a 2-2 draw with Mainz in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Muller, who captained the side during the disappointing draw, bemoaned the performance that has now let second-placed RB Leipzig back into the title race with four games remaining.

"Tuesday's game was still in our minds, although we should have been able to forget about it, we are professionals after all," he told reporters. "However, we are also just humans. It's difficult mentally to digest such a disappointment.

"We have to look ahead; on Wednesday we have a very important game. Getting to the final in Berlin is our big goal apart from winning the league title. We have our sights set on that.

"We are playing against Dortmund at home in a Cup semi-final – you have to squeeze out everything you have left in the tank. We are looking forward to the game, it's a real highlight," the Germany international added.

"It's not easy to stand here right now but I think we will manage to keep our heads raised. Our manager is the right man to build up our confidence again. We can definitely look to follow up on our second half performance against Mainz."

Tuchel thrilled with Dortmund victory

Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel could not hide his delight after the 3-2 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in their Bundesliga clash on Saturday.

Raphaël Guerreiro's last minute winner secured Die Borussen all three points to help Tuchel's side hold onto their third place Champions League spot - ahead of the crucial DFB Pokal semi-final against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Marco Reus' tenth minute penalty opened the scoring for the visitors at Borussia Park, before Lars Stindl and Marcel Schmelzer's own goal on either side of the break gave Die Fohlen the advantage.

However, amidst the injuries to Nuri Sahin and defender Sokratis, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal just before the hour mark and Guerreiro's 87th minute strike, gave Dortmund the vital win.

"We knew that we could move up to third place," he said after the game. "But before the match we were also aware of how difficult it would be to get the victory we required, and how complicated it is to win in Gladbach. 

"We knew that we would need to show a lot of courage, defend compactly, be very good on the ball and consistently look dangerous going forward each time we had possession. We managed all of that. 

"The fact that we managed to emerge with the win, given the way the match unfolded, is something very special," Tuchel added.

"The mood is one of exuberance at the moment, so I am very happy for my players, for all of us."

Ancelotti rues Bayern off-day

FC Bayern Munchen coach Carlo Ancelotti lamented his side’s ‘off-day’ following their 2-2 draw against struggling Mainz 05 in Munich on Saturday, a result which hands second-placed RB Leipzig a sliver of hope.

Bayern came from behind twice to grab a point which saw their lead at the top increase to nine points, although Leipzig face Schalke on Sunday and a win could reduce the gap to six points.

Arjen Robben and Thiago Alcantara got the goals for Bayern to cancel out Bojan Krkic’s third-minute opener and then Daniel Brosinski’s penalty.

And afterwards Ancelotti admitted his team had not been up to scratch, perhaps suffering a post Champions League exit hangover following defeat to Real Madrid midweek.

“We didn’t play well today. It was difficult for us,” Ancelotti told reporters after the match. “It was hard but we expected more. We were not as compact as usual in the first half. We should have done better. In the second half we were more compact, we played better and were able to compensate.”

Bayern now have a DFB Cup semi-final clash with Borussia Dortmund to look forward to in midweek, although Ancelotti said he expects to see a different Bayern side show up.

“I’m confident that we will put in a very different performance against Dortmund,” he said.

Mainz coach Martin Schmidt, meanwhile, was happy with a point as they continue their battle to avoid relegation.

The point leaves Mainz in 13th place, just a single point above the relegation place off position.

“When you go to Munich you always feel that it is not going to be like other teams but still you must tell your team to play bravely. I seem to have found the right words for my team. This is not so easy. A point is definitely a great success,” said Schmidt.

Dortmund stun Gladbach late on

Borussia Dortmund left it late to emerge as 3-2 winner over Borussia Moenchengladbach at Stadion im BORUSSIA-PARK on Saturday.

  • Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 Borussia Dortmund 3
  • Reus opens the scoring
  • Stindl fires in equaliser
  • Schmelzer own goal puts Gladbach ahead
  • Aubameyang comes off  the bench to equalise
  • Guerreiro with late winner

Match Summary

Marco Reus had Dortmund ahead against his former club when he converted an early penalty after Christian Pulisic was fouled, but Gladbach were level at the break thanks to Lars Stindl taking his opportunity in the 43rd minute.

Die Fohlen had the lead soon after the restart when André Hahn’s shot at goal was deflected in by BVB defender Marcel Schmelzer

BVB’s star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench to draw them level on the hour mark before Raphaël Guerreiro won it in the 87th minute.

Full Report

Dortmund were dominant in the early stages and they earned a penalty in just the ninth minute when Christian Pulisic was brought down by Mahmoud Dahoud.

The question marks over the decision were less about the nature of the foul than the position of it, as it happened right on the edge of the box, and Gladbach players were furious to see the spot kick given.

Up stepped former Gladbach star Marco Reus to convert from the spot and give Dortmund an early lead.

BVB almost had a second just a couple of minutes later when Yann Sommer was called on to deny Ousmane Dembele.

Reus came close to a second in the 27th minute when he cut inside from a wide position and looked to curl it past Sommer, but Tobias Strobl intervened with the block.

As halftime approached Gladbach were getting into the game, despite Dortmund still looking the better team, but they were level at halftime after a 43rd-minute strike from Lars Stindl found the bottom corner.

Dortmund were at fault for conceding soon after the restart as a defensive error allowed André Hahn a chance that was quickly smothered by goalkeeper Roman Burki.

But BVB failed to deal with the resulting corner, and another shot at goal by Hahn took a deflection off Marcel Schmelzer that diverted it into his own net.

The 57th minute saw the introduction of free-scoring striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and it took the Gabon international just 109 seconds  to draw Dortmund level when he latched onto Ousmane Dembélé’s through ball and tucked it in from a tight angle.

The match looked to be heading to a stalemate until the 87th minute when Raphaël Guerreiro won it for Dortmund.

The rest of Saturday’s Bundesliga results:

Bayern München 2 - 2 Mainz 05
Hertha BSC 1 - 0 Wolfsburg
Hamburger SV 1 - 2 Darmstadt 98
Ingolstadt 2 - 4 Werder Bremen

Neuer blow a chance for Ulreich to shine

Bayern Munich backup keeper Sven Ulreich expressed commiseration to Manuel Neuer after he was ruled out for the season, but admitted it is a big chance for him to shine.

Neuer will miss the rest of the campaign with a broken foot and now Bayern's number two, Ulreich, will have the chance to prove what he is capable of in the remaining weeks of the season.

The 28-year-old has made four appearances so far in 2016/17, including three earlier this month. He told the club's official website, "First of all it's a real blow for Manu and I wish him all the best again in his recovery.

"But of course I'm pleased that I'll be able to play a few games for the team again and show what I can do.

"Obviously we're all still a bit disappointed (about the exit from the UEFA Champions League) but now it's about fully concentrating on the Bundesliga and the DFB Cup. We want to lift these two trophies. First of all we want to secure the title as soon as possible."

Bayern launch protest against Spanish police

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has launched an appeal to German government to mount a protest against Spanish police for reportedly brutalising Bayern fans.

The alleged incident happen during the Bavarians defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League second leg quarter-final which took place in Spain earlier this week.

After Bayern fans were said to have unfurled a banner that was unauthorised at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Spanish police were said to have acted excessively in dealing with the matter.

Rummenigge told the club's official website, "We remain appalled by the utterly disproportionate and excessive action taken by Spanish police against a section of our fans at the Bernabeu Stadium.

FC Bayern has a duty and responsibility to its supporters in this matter, and we have communicated this to the federal government. (We call on government) to lodge a protest with the Spanish government on behalf of FC Bayern against the disproportionate and violent police operation and demand an explanation."

Demirbay rescues a point for Hoffenheim

Kerem Demirbay netted a dramatic late equaliser to hand Hoffenheim a share of the spoils in their 1-1 draw with Cologne on Friday night.

The hosts looked to have dented Hoffenheim's Champions League hopes at the Rhein Energie Stadion.

Leonardo Bittencourt scored what looked to be the only goal of the game on 58 minutes, but Demirbay found the back of the net in injury time to secure the draw.

The result sees Hoffenheim remain in third place on the standings, two points clear of fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund but still clear of Hertha BSC in fifth.

The hosts moved from seventh to six with this draw, above Freiburg, on 41 points.

Andrej Kramaric fired over Timo Horn’s crossbar in the opening moments as Hoffenheim started well.

Adam Szalai then should have slotted home after being set up by Kramaric on 10 minutes while Steve Zuber shot straight at Horn on 37 minutes.

Dominique Heintz came close to a goal for Cologne with a header at the back post from a corner but he failed to beat goalkeeper Oliver Baumann while Yuya Osako volley wide as Cologne ended the half strongly.

Lukas Klunter fouled Kramaric in the box and was lucky not to have conceded a penalty on 56 minutes before Bittencourt broke the deadlock two minutes later.

The goalscorer tapped home from close range after Jonas Hector had directed a ball across goal, with Klunter having knocked on a long ball forward.

Baumann punched away an Osako effort on 77 minutes with Lehmann firing the rebound wide as Cologne looked to end this match on top.

But amazingly, Demirbay popped up late on to rescue a point for Hoffenheim with a well-take goal as he slotted home after picking up a Niklas Sule pass.

Leverkusen target Europa League qualification

It has been a season to forget for Bayer Leverkusen, but midfielder Julian Brandt is confident the German giants can climb the table to a respectable league position.

Leverkusen find themselves in a lowly 12th spot in the Bundesliga, and Brandt was hopeful they can build on their goalless draw last weekend against champions Bayern Munich.

"A lot of teams have failed against Bayern, so this result can definitely be seen as a positive," Brandt was quoted by the Bundesliga website.

"I think that a point like this one against Bayern is hugely important because in the run up to the game,  hardly anyone expected us to have any chance at all," said the 23-year-old German international.

Their target at the beginning of the season was to take over Borussia Dortmund's position as Bayern's main title rivals, but they have failed spectacularly so far, and Brandt attributed this to they're inability to find any consistency during the course of the season

"We have never found any consistency and we have barely been able to win a game that wasn't so good -- and that's vital if you want to be at the top.

"We cut even get the basics right and especially in the first half of the season, we left at lot of points behind us. That eats into your self-confidence..."

While qualifying for the Champions League is completely out of the question right now, Brandt mentioned that they were now trying to get into the Europa League.

"... The Europa League is still doable. It would be good if we can at least get to grips with our problems in the last five games," he said.

Traore: Gladbach can still achieve

Ibrahima Traore believes Borussia Mönchengladbach can still achieve something special as the Bundesliga season enters the business end.

Die Fohlen find themselves in ninth place in the league, but have been one of Germany's form sides since the end of the winter break.

"We played well at stages in the first half of the season, both in the Champions League and in the Bundesliga, but then had some less impressive performances at times," Traore told the Bundesliga website.

"... The second half of the season has been much better, but we've had setbacks here too, like against Hoffenheim," said the Guinea international who turned 29 on Friday.

Gladbach lost an eight-goal thriller against Hoffenheim 5-3 last weekend in the league, but will be looking to take the same kind of spirited performance into their next game on Saturday against Borussia Dortmund. 

And, Traore added they were not intimidated by Dortmund's league position, and we're targeting to pick up all three points from the encounter.

"Top four or not, that doesn't interest us. What matters is that we win the game. It goes without saying that Dortmund are an amazing team with top players who play at the highest level.

"We have to be completely ready if we want to compete against the., but we're at home and there's still a chance for us to achieve something big this season," he said.