Bundesliga roundup: RB Leipzig edge past Freiburg, Union Berlin lose to Augsburg

Bundesliga roundup: RB Leipzig edge past Freiburg, Union Berlin lose to Augsburg
Kampl gave his team a big win with a stunning strike
Kampl gave his team a big win with a stunning strike
Thanks to their 1-0 victory over Freiburg and Union Berlin's 1-0 loss to Augsburg, RB Leipzig moved up to third in the Bundesliga table on Saturday afternoon, while Hertha Berlin won a relegation six-pointer with Stuttgart and Hoffenheim moved clear of both by beating Frankfurt.

Augsburg 1 Union Berlin 0

Augsburg registered their first Bundesliga victory in eight matches to move six points clear of the relegation play-off position, getting a hard-fought 1-0 win over Union Berlin at the WWK ARENA.

On course to take their place in the Champions League for the first time in the club's 57-year history, Union began strongly, but Kevin Behrens failed to direct Josip Juranovic’s cross towards Tomas Koubek’s goal with any precision.

Augsburg were indebted to the instincts of their Czech shot-stopper in the 22nd minute as he got down well to his left-hand side to turn Behrens’ header around the post.

With the interval on the horizon, Augsburg came close to capitalising on an uncharacteristic mistimed pass from Frederik Ronnow, but Dion Drena Beljo passed up a glorious opportunity by firing disappointingly wide.

However, eight minutes after the restart, Beljo would not make the same mistake again as the Croatian sublimely directed Ruben Vargas’ ambitious long throw-in into the far corner past a helpless Ronnow.

Without a significant goalscoring threat in the second half, Urs Fischer rolled the substitutional dice with 20 minutes left of regular time as the Union manager introduced a triple alternation from the dugout.

Despite throwing on all of his available attacking options, his gamble failed to materialise, and a much-needed victory for Augsburg temporarily reduced their fear of a return to the second tier of German football for the first time in 13 seasons ahead of a six-pointer at Bochum.

Meanwhile, Union Berlin remain ahead of Freiburg in the final qualification position on goal difference and will face their closest top-four challengers in front of their own supporters next weekend.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Dion Drena Beljo (Augsburg)

Check out all the match stats here

Borussia Monchengladbach 2 Bochum 0

Borussia Monchengladbach’s faint hopes of a top-half Bundesliga finish were given a slight boost with a 2-0 win over Bochum, who remain rooted to the relegation zone following a sixth winless league game on the trot.

Perhaps inspired by their gritty display in a draw against Dortmund last time out, Bochum emerged with all guns blazing in a bid to draw first blood.

Only a win against a Gladbach side with little to play for would be enough to get them out of the bottom three, but the hosts soon settled and created several decent chances. The best of those forced Manuel Riemann to brilliantly tip Florian Neuhaus’ effort over the crossbar as the Borussia-Park crowd sensed blood.

Der Blau could hardly keep up with Gladbach’s pace, and the hosts soon crafted a great team goal for the opener, which saw Ramy Bensebaini line Jonas Hofmann up for a volley at the far post.

Luckily for Thomas Letsch, Bochum were spared another setback before the break with Nathan Ngoumou rattling the woodwork, leaving the manager to ponder tactical switches in a huge interval for his men.

Few expected Gladbach to slip up against a side winless in five straight games, and Philipp Hofmann struck the frame of the goal with a header from a mere six yards on the hour mark, proving unable to follow up on his winning goal in the reverse fixture.

Urging his side to slow the game’s tempo, Daniel Farke then implemented a rather defensive approach with an emphasis to counter-attack, perhaps sensing an opportunity to catch the visitors off their guard.

His tactical switch eventually paid dividends at the death, as Lars Stindl capped the afternoon with a poacher’s header following a weak shot, leaving Bochum undone and reeling in the automatic relegation zone.

Despite making such a determined start, the visitors ultimately succumbed to a first loss in four away league outings in very meek fashion, ending the club’s longest run without an away top-flight defeat since promotion in 2021.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Check out all the match stats here

Freiburg 0 RB Leipzig 1

RB Leipzig claimed an important victory over Freiburg at the Europa-Park Stadion for the second time this week to replace their opponents in the Bundesliga top-four.

Just four days after Leipzig thrashed Freiburg 5-1 to reach a third consecutive DFB-Pokal final, Die Roten Bullen returned to the scene of their commanding victory.

Still reeling from conceding four goals in the first half on Tuesday, Freiburg’s backline was lacking confidence, and they were fortunate to escape the opening 20 minutes without conceding. Timo Werner struck the upright after latching onto Amadou Haidara’s piercing through ball, and the Germany international saw another effort deflect over the bar just moments later.

After scoring two goals against Mark Flekken in midweek, Dominik Szoboszlai looked set to beat the Freiburg goalkeeper once again when he raced in behind the backline, but his tame strike was comfortably stopped.

Leipzig continued to dominate possession for the remainder of the first half and into the second period, but chances were becoming a rare occurrence as the hosts began to demonstrate the resilience that had helped them claim 12 clean sheets in the Bundesliga this season.

However, just as Freiburg looked to have negated the Leipzig threat, second-half substitute Kevin Kampl broke the deadlock with just his second goal of the campaign. After launching a determined run into the box, Kampl’s attempted pass to Christopher Nkunku was blocked by Manuel Gulde, ricocheting back into the path of the 32-year-old, who calmly lifted the ball over the onrushing Flekken.

In a desperate attempt to find an equaliser, Christian Streich made four late changes. The move nearly paid off when substitute Nils Petersen unleashed a powerful strike from inside the box, but Janis Blaswich was equal to the effort, ensuring that Leipzig beat Freiburg for the third time this season in all competitions.

Die Roten Bullen climbed into the Champions League places, while the hosts dropped out of the top four on goal difference with just three rounds of the Bundesliga season remaining.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Kevin Kampl (RB Leipzig)

Check out all the match stats here

Hertha Berlin 2 Stuttgart 1

Hertha Berlin kept their hopes of a miracle escape from relegation alive after a gutsy 2-1 win over Stuttgart at the Olympiastadion gave them a sixth home league victory in seven against the Swabians, who now sit two points from guaranteed safety.

As expected, it was far from pretty in the early stages, but after a combative opening half-hour of few chances, Hertha took a priceless lead through Marc-Oliver Kempf. A corner into the Stuttgart box was only half-cleared, and Marco Richter crossed in for the ex-Swabian to head into the far corner.

However, Hertha’s old failings manifested once again nine minutes later, as Stuttgart drew level thanks to relegation-level defending. A ball from the left evaded everyone and found Josha Vagnoman at the back post, before he squared to Serhou Guirassy for an easy tap-in.

Stuttgart perhaps had their minds on the looming break a little too much though, and Hertha retook the lead with the first half’s final kick, as a Dodi Lukebakio free-kick from the right found Florian Niederlechner.

Making only his eighth appearance for the Old Lady following his transfer from Augsburg in January, he got the slightest touch on it at full stretch, and the ball trickled over the whitewash before Hiroki Ito could clear for Stuttgart.

The start of the second half proved to be just as cagey as the early minutes, and with no second-half shots on target either way by the hour mark, Pal Dardai turned to his bench as he looked to kill off Stuttgart.

Meanwhile, the visitors themselves struggled to make earlier substitutions of their own work, though Hiroki Ito was left aggrieved after a nervy moment that saw Lucas Tousart put in a clean last-ditch tackle inside the area, flooring him and leaving the away section baying for a penalty.

Going into the match, Hertha would have been wary not to repeat the late collapse that denied them an unlikely point in Munich in the last round. To a man, they defended stoutly to grind out a deserved first win in nine outings, and while the Old Lady are still five points shy of safety, the two-time German champions are now firmly back in the fight to avoid automatic relegation later this month.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Marc-Oliver Kempf (Hertha Berlin)

Check out all the match stats here

Hoffenheim 3 Frankfurt 1

Hoffenheim were on fire in the first half

A stunning three-goal first half saw 10-man Hoffenheim ease their relegation worries as they defeated Frankfurt 3-1 at the PreZero Arena. This was their first win in four games, while their opponents are still without an away victory in 2023.

Both teams came into the fixture out of form, although Frankfurt celebrated midweek success by reaching the DFB-Pokal final, defeating Stuttgart 3-2 in the semi-final.

However, it was the hosts who came out of the blocks quicker, taking the lead when Christophe Baumgartner nodded home a delightful Dennis Geiger cross for his seventh Bundesliga goal of the season.

This prompted Frankfurt to attack, but they failed to create any real chances, despite their possession. Hoffenheim sat back, hoping to catch their visitors on the break, and in one instance striker Andrej Kramaric saw his shot deflected onto the crossbar and cleared by a nervous Frankfurt defence.

However, Kramaric wasn’t to be denied from the spot after Baumgartner was felled in the penalty area five minutes before the break. It was the Croatian’s fifth goal in his last seven matches and only his second against Die Adler.

There was more drama to come in the final stages of the first period when Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner was given a straight red card and sent to the stands for the first time in his coaching career.

The problems continued for the visitors in the very next passage of play when Angelino’s cross was bundled home by Ihlas Bebou on his 150th Bundesliga appearance.

The drama continued after the restart with a straight red card given to Hoffenheim’s Stanley Nsoki.

This seemed to spur Frankfurt on and they pulled a goal back 10 minutes into the second half via Mario Gotze - his third goal of the season.

All of a sudden, the excitement of the second half came to a stop as Hoffenheim held firm with Frankfurt making attacking changes to try and get back in the game.

It proved to be fruitless as the home side collected all three points and only their third win at home in their last 13 games. Meanwhile, Frankfurt go home empty-handed and are now without a win in 10 league games.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim)

Check out all the match stats here


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