Borussia Dortmund slip up again in Bayern pursuit

Goalkeeper Marvin Schwaebe of 1. FC Koeln, Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund and Timo Huebers of 1. FC Koeln battle for the ball during the Bundesliga match between 1. FC Köln and Borussia Dortmund at RheinEnergieStadion on March 20, 2022 in Cologne, Germany.

Borussia Dortmund could only manage a 1-1 draw at Cologne to leave them six points adrift of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich with seven games to go.

Bayern had beaten Union Berlin 4-0 on Saturday and yet again Dortmund could not fully respond, Marius Wolf's early opener being cancelled out by a Sebastian Andersson equaliser.

Erling Haaland made his first Dortmund start in 57 days after injury but was not at his best as missed chances cost his team against the seventh-placed hosts.

Bayer Leverkusen earlier took charge in the race for third when Paulinho struck twice late on to seal a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg, as rivals RB Leipzig were held to a goalless draw by Eintracht Frankfurt.

Dortmund won their game in hand against Mainz in midweek to cut the gap back to four points, but Bayern extended their lead on Saturday and now look odds-on for a 10th straight German league title -- with the teams set to meet in Munich in late April.

"It was a really intensive game, it went back and forth. I think we had a lot of opportunities where he could have made a better decision," Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji told DAZN.

Wolf, a bit part player for much of his time at Dortmund, had grabbed the winner against Arminia Bielefeld last weekend and he was again on target on eight minutes in Cologne.

But a poacher's finish from Swede Andersson after Anthony Modeste's flick-on was a deserved leveller on 36 minutes for Cologne.

Leverkusen sit three points clear in the third Champions League spot after the Brazilian midfielder was allowed to run and run with his deflected shot somehow beating goalkeeper Pavao Pervan on 86 minutes.

A header soon after sealed matters.

Substitute Paulinho's first league goals of the season were a blow to fourth-placed Leipzig, who are level on points with Freiburg in the battle for the last Champions League spot but could not get past Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp.

Despite dominating possession, Leipzig could not make the breakthrough with Mohamed Simakan and Konrad Laimer both hitting the woodwork and Christopher Nkunku flagged offside with the ball in the net.

The Bundesliga now has two weeks off due to the international break.

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