Morning Chronicle - Bayern edge Leipzig in five-goal thriller to pull clear at top

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Bayern edge Leipzig in five-goal thriller to pull clear at top
Bayern edge Leipzig in five-goal thriller to pull clear at top

Bayern edge Leipzig in five-goal thriller to pull clear at top

Bayern Munich strengthened their grip on the top of the Bundesliga table on Saturday, as they snatched a thrilling 3-2 win over RB Leipzig thanks to a second-half own goal from Josko Gvardiol.

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The champions held off a spirited display from Leipzig to decide a dramatic, end-to-end battle in their favour and pull nine points clear at the top overnight.

Bayern's eighth win in nine games heaps pressure on second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who face Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.

Bayern burst out of the blocks with an opener on 12 minutes, Thomas Mueller tapping into the empty net after Peter Gulacsi parried a low shot from Robert Lewandowski.

Manuel Neuer twice denied Dani Olmo at the other end, before a mistake from Corentin Tolisso in midfield allowed Leipzig to break and equalise just before the half-hour mark.

Konrad Laimer's initial effort was drifting wide before Andre Silva popped up at the far post to bundle it in for his sixth goal in seven games.

Mueller then had a goal ruled out by VAR before Lewandowski restored the lead shortly before half-time.

Tolisso tore Leipzig apart with a brilliant through ball, Kingsley Coman curled the ball into the box and Lewandowski sent a ferocious header past Gulacsi.

The game continued to sparkle in the second half, Lewandowski coming close at one end before Bayern were caught off guard by another cut-throat Leipzig attack.

Laimer once again grabbed the assist, this time threading a devastating pass through to Christopher Nkunku, who slotted the ball past Neuer.

Bayern were in front again just five minutes later, however, when Gvardiol diverted a Serge Gnabry cross into his own net.

Leipzig had several chances to snatch a point late on, but both Dominik Szoboszlai and Emil Forsberg were frustrated by Neuer.

- Union and Freiburg stumble -

Elsewhere, crisis-hit Borussia Moenchengladbach were held 1-1 at Arminia Bielefeld, while high-flying minnows Freiburg and Union Berlin both slumped to surprise defeats in the race for the Champions League.

Gladbach's run of one win in nine competitive games looked set to continue when Janni Serra smashed the ball into the top corner to give Bielefeld an early lead, but Alassane Plea spared their blushes with a second-half header.

"We were really pushing for the win towards the end. We were playing at a good level, even if our self-confidence isn't quite there yet," said coach Adi Huetter.

Eintracht Frankfurt took a step towards the European spots with a dramatic 3-2 win over relegation-threatened Stuttgart.

Evan Ndicka flicked the ball in at a corner to give Frankfurt an early lead before Stuttgart hit back just before half-time, Waldemar Anton getting on the end of a swinging free-kick to score his side's first goal in six league games.

Ajdin Hrustic restored the lead with a thunderous volley just minutes after coming on at half-time, and struck again late on to seal the win after a Sasa Kalajdzic header had brought Stuttgart level.

Stuttgart are now three points adrift of safety after fellow strugglers Augsburg picked up a surprise 2-0 home win over fourth-placed Union Berlin.

Union keeper Andreas Luthe handed the opener on a silver platter to Michael Gregoritsch with a hashed clearance early on, before Andre Hahn smashed in a superb long-range effort on the hour mark.

Union remain in fourth despite the defeat, as those around them also dropped points.

A late goal from South Korean international Lee Jae-sung and a penalty from Moussa Niakhate saw Hoffenheim succumb to a 2-0 defeat away to Mainz.

Fifth-placed Freiburg, meanwhile, were beaten 1-0 away to Cologne thanks to a sharp first-half finish from French striker Anthony Modeste.