Matchday 25 saw both the European battle and the relegation fight intensify. Werder Bremen kept their run going, Cologne’s star man delivered and Hoffeheim kept their Champions League dream alive.Cologne 4-2 Hertha Berlin
(Osako 5′, Modeste 36′, 37′, 63′ – Ibisevic 50′ pen., Brooks 69′)
Anthony Modeste’s second hat trick this season inspired Cologne to a home win in a goal-heavy game in the rain. Yuya Osako’s speculative effort turned into the club’s fastest goal of the season after Rune Jarstein failed to save the striker’s long-range effort. Ten minutes before the break, Frenchman Anthony Modeste scored two goals in a minute to end Hertha’s afternoon before it had started. A curled half-volley from the edge of the box was followed by a superb first touch and finish from Modeste.
In his 50th Bundesliga appearance for Hertha, Vedad Ibisevic notched his 11th of the campaign after Timo Horn misjudged a ball into the box and punched Niklas Stark instead of the ball. But any chance of a comeback was silenced when Modeste burst forward again and got the better of Jarstein at the near post. There was enough time for John-Anthony Brooks to head home at the near post and although Ibisevic missed a chance to narrow the gap further, Cologne were never in danger of losing their lead.
Hoffenheim 1-0 Leverkusen
Hoffenheim took a big step towards Champions League football next season, beating the side that recently exited the competition.
Tayfun Korkut’s team impressed midweek in Madrid, and after a slow first quarter of an hour in Sinsheim the visitors were unfortunate not to be ahead by the 30-minute mark. Good saves by both Bernd Leno and Oliver Baumann left the scores level at the break, with Karim Bellerabi and Sandro Wagner missing the two best chances respectively.
Leverkusen might have been the better team and had the better chances, but Hoffenheim went ahead when Bernd Leno diverted Sandro Wagner’s close-range effort into the back of the net. Ermin Bicakcic headed wide late on as Julian Nagelsmann’s side looked closer to a second than Leverkusen to an equalizer. Chicharito blazed over in the dying moments as Hoffenheim held on to the three points.
Werder Bremen 3-0 RB Leipzig
(Junuzovic 35′, Grillitsch 59′, Kainz 89′)
Werder Bremen extended their unbeaten streak to five games with their win against Leipzig, who continue to struggle against sides at the bottom of the table.
Felix Wiedwald continued his excellent form early as Leipzig started the better of the two. Emil Forsberg drilled a shot wide of the far post as Bremen wobbled but against the run of play, Zlatko Junuzovic hit a curling effort inside the post to send the home side into raptures. Before the break, Marcel Sabitzer hit the post but Bremen held on to keep their lead at the break.
Ahead of the game, Thomas Delaney talked to DW about being cleverer than Leipzig and Bremen’s second came from a smart move. The Danish midfielder whispered something to teammate Junuzovic, who then passed his free kick from the left into the box where Florian Grillitsch curled home beautifully. After their positive start, Leipzig looked second best and with time running out, Austrian midfielder Florian Kainz ended a Bremen counterattack with his first goal for the club.
Augsburg 1-1 Freiburg
(Stafylidis 38′ – Niederlechner 30′ pen.)
With an epic relegation battle looming, Augsburg’s largely indifferent form continued at home against Freiburg. Dutch defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw hit the bar as Manuel Baum’s side threatened to take the lead, but it was the visitors who scored first. Marwin Hitz brought down Mike Franz and Florian Niederlechner made no mistake from the spot. Augsburg should have equalized straight away, but Martin Hinteregger mishit a shot in the box. Before the break, Konstantinos Stafylidis spared his blushes heading home unmarked inside the area.
The second half was largely unremarkable and Augsburg ended the game with 14 shots, but their inability to convert more than one of them cost them what would have been two very important points.
Wolfsburg 1-0 Darmstadt
Even when you’re not playing well, you can still win – just ask Thomas Tuchel about BVB’s performance on Friday night. Andries Jonker’s side huffed and puffed in the first 45 minutes, but it was only when Mario Gomez headed in his ninth of the season – and his third consecutive in the Bundesliga – that Wolfsburg had something to show for their efforts.
Half-time sub Paul-Georges Ntep was denied a goal when the cross for his header was incorrectly ruled out of bounds, before Sidney Sam missed a glorious chance in the box just before full time. Darmstadt still haven’t collected any points away from home this season, while Wolfsburg are still undefeated under their new head coach.
Frankfurt 0-0 Hamburg
Eintracht Frankfurt finally ended their losing streak in the Bundesliga. In a game of half-chances, both teams had an opportunity at a winning goal in second-half stoppage time. But Hamburg could not tap in a corner that slid across the face of goal and Frankfurt’s Danny Blum could not pick out Mijat Gacinovic with the last kick of the game. Hamburg are still unbeaten in the league since Gladbach knocked them out of the German Cup, but Frankfurt, third in January, have fallen to seventh place with the result.
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