Leipzig wins; Freiburg, Leverkusen drop points in Bundesliga

Patrick Schick of Bayer 04 Leverkusen scores his teams first goal during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1. FC Union Berlin at BayArena on January 8, 2022 in Leverkusen, Germany.

Leipzig overcame a host of coronavirus infections to beat 10-man Mainz 4-1, while Freiburg and Bayer Leverkusen dropped points after leading in the Bundesliga on Saturday. 

Patrik Schick’s 17th goal of the season wasn’t enough for Leverkusen, which was fortunate to emerge with a 2-2 draw against Union Berlin as the visitor twice hit the post late on. 

Freiburg, which spent the league’s winter break in third place, drew against relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld 2-2 despite scoring first through Janik Haberer and Jeong Woo-yeong. 

American forward Ricardo Pepi made his debut as a second-half substitute in a 3-1 defeat at Hoffenheim. Also, Stuttgart drew at last-placed Greuther Fürth 0-0.

Leverkusen's Czech forward Patrik Schick (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the 1-0 goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen v 1 FC Union Berlin in Leverkusen, western Germany on January 8, 2022.

Borussia Dortmund hoped to cut Bayern Munich’s lead to six points with a win at Eintracht Frankfurt in the late game. In Leverkusen, Schick rewarded the home team’s early dominance against Union with the opener in the 39th, slotting the ball in from a narrow angle after Andreas Luthe saved Moussa Diaby’s initial effort. It was Schick’s ninth in Leverkusen’s last five Bundesliga games. 

However, the visitors equalized from their period of pressure before the break. Lukáš Hrádecký pulled off two fine saves in quick succession to deny Christoph Trimmel, then Kevin Behrens, but was powerless to stop Grischa Prömel scoring at the third attempt. 

Union coach Urs Fischer made two changes at the break. Prömel scored again in the 49th, and Luthe thrice denied Leverkusen a response. Union’s Max Kruse struck the top corner of the post in the 78th, then Jonathan Tah finally equalized in the 84th with a header to Karim Bellarabi’s cross.

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