March 4, 2018 / 3:51 AM / 4 months ago

Dortmund held at Leipzig in tight Champions League race

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Bundesliga race for berths in the Champions League remained tightly bunched after Schalke 04, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen all won while Borussia Dortmund were held 1-1 at RB Leipzig on Saturday.

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - RB Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund - Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany - March 3, 2018. Borussia Dortmund’s Michy Batshuayi in action with RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Schalke 04 beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 with a Marko Pjaca goal to remain in second place on 43 points from 25 matches, one point ahead of Dortmund and fourth-placed Eintracht, who won 1-0 at home to Hanover 96, with Leverkusen, 2-1 winners at VfL Wolfsburg, on 41.

Runaway leaders Bayern Munich, who have 60 points with 10 matches to go, play at Freiburg on Sunday.

Jean-Kevin Augustin put sixth-placed Leipzig (39 points) ahead when he got behind the defence to turn Naby Keita’s pass beyond keeper Roman Buerki in the 29th minute.

Marco Reus equalised brilliantly nine minutes later, running on to a superb through ball from Mahmoud Dahoud, rounding Peter Gulacsi and scoring left-footed from a tight angle.

Schalke scored the only goal in the 37th minute of their home match when Franco Di Santo laid the ball off for Pjaca, who is on loan from Juventus, to fire past Rune Jarstein.

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - RB Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund - Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany - March 3, 2018 RB Leipzig's Jean-Kevin Augustin celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

“It was hugely important to play with brains today,” said Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco. “We did that in the first half, but then we were poor after the break. We have to learn from that.

“We’re pleased with the result, but Hertha could’ve had something from this game. We have a lot of work to do.”

At Wolfsburg, Leverkusen went in front with a penalty converted by striker Lucas Alario after half an hour following Maximilian Arnold’s foul on Kai Havertz.

Substitute Julian Brandt added a brilliant dinked goal in the 78th but Leverkusen’s two goal advantage lasted only a minute before Admir Mehmedi’s curling shot for the home side, whose Brazilian defender William was sent off in the 90th.

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“I’m extremely happy that we’ve won here because this was the right answer after last week’s defeat against Schalke,” Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich said.

Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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