Freiburg stay 4th with win as Leverkusen miss chance to close in

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Freiburg and RB Leipzig won while Union Berlin drew with Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday as the race for the Bundesliga's Champions League spots took another twist, just like the title race.

Freiburg stayed in the fourth and final Champions League place after Ritsu Doan's low diving header sealed a 1-0 victory at Cologne, putting the south-west club level on points with third-placed Union, who were held to a home goalless draw by Leverkusen in sixth.

"We all have quite a few aches and pains now but the victory is more important," Freiburg forward Lucas Höler told Sky.

Leipzig sit two points back in fifth after Christopher Nkunku — back in the starting XI for the first time in over two months — netted the winner in a 1-0 home success over Hoffenheim, who are far from safe.

Leverkusen are now eight points adrift of a Champions League berth and may have to settle for the Europa League or Conference League after their remarkable revival under Xabi Alonso.

VFB Stuttgart moved out of the relegation play-off spot at the expense of Bochum after a late penalty secured a 2-1 win at home to mid-table Borussia Mönchengladbach, who were reduced to 10 men.

Second-bottom Schalke are just a point from safety following a last-gasp 2-1 win at home to Werder Bremen. Dominick Drexler netted in stoppage time after Sepp van den Berg had cancelled out Marvin Ducksch's opener for the visitors.

Ninth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt extended their winless run to nine games following a 1-1 draw at home to Augsburg, who could still get sucked into a relegation battle.

Leaders Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 at Bochum on Friday to open the door for champions Bayern Munich to take over at the top with a win at home to Hertha Berlin on Sunday. Four rounds of matches will remain following this weekend's fixtures in one of the most thrilling Bundesliga seasons for years.

Wolfsburg take on Mainz on Sunday after Bayern's clash with basement side Hertha.

Freiburg, who narrowly missed out on a first Champions League spot last term, scored on 54 minutes in Cologne when Japan's Doan nodded in after Höler's flick-on from a corner. Their 56 points from 30 games is their highest total in Bundesliga history.

It was a third win in a row for Christian Streich's men, who host Leipzig in the German Cup semi-final on Tuesday in a repeat of last season's final won by the Red Bulls. They also meet in the Bundesliga next weekend in a crunch clash, again in Freiburg.

Leipzig's Nkunku, linked heavily with Chelsea, has been working his way back to fitness after ligament damage and Marco Rose's inconsistent side have badly missed his poaching skills.

It only took 28 minutes of his full return for Nkunku to slot home after a big error by Hoffenheim defender John Anthony Brooks.

But the win was not enough to lift the hosts back into the top four, where they have finished in five of their six Bundesliga seasons.

Creative midfielder Florian Wirtz returned to the Leverkusen starting lineup in the German capital, with Jordan Siebatcheu back for Union.

But neither side could break the deadlock as Union at least extended their unbeaten home league run to 21 matches as they target a maiden Champions League appearance.

Wirtz said: "I am a little disappointed. Union did very well and didn't allow many chances. The draw is deserved for both sides, but I would have loved to take the three points."

  •  Freiburg
  •  RB Leipzig
  •  Union Berlin
  •  Bayer Leverkusen

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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