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Leipzig down 10-man Frankfurt to trim Bayern lead

Eintracht Frankfurt’s goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky keeps the ball outside the 16 meter field on January 21, 2017 © AFP / ROBERT MICHAEL

BERLIN, Germany, Jan 21Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was sent off just 125 seconds into Eintracht Frankfurt’s 3-0 defeat on Saturday as second-placed RB Leipzig trimmed Bayern Munich’s lead in the Bundesliga.

The match at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena had barely begun when Hradecky dropped to the turf to gather a loose ball just outside his area and was shown a straight red card for handling the ball.

It left visitors Frankfurt with 10 men for the next 87 minutes as Leipzig claimed first-half goals through defender Marvin Compper and top-scorer Timo Werner before Frankfurt defender Jesus Vallejo’s second-half own goal.

“After the red card and the free-kick, which led to their first goal, it was all over bar the shouting,” said Frankfurt’s coach Niko Kovac.

“You have to act quickly after situations like that. The game was all over early on so there’s no point overstating the result.”

RB’s win leaves them three points behind leaders Bayern, who had Robert Lewandowski’s 91st-minute strike to thank for their 2-1 comeback win at Freiburg on Friday when the league returned from the winter break.

“It was important that we scored almost immediately after the sending off,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.

“We didn’t play well in the half an hour before half time, but we still managed to make it 2-0.”

Despite his lightning dismissal Hradecky did not break the Bundesliga record, set by defender Youssef Mohamad, who was sent off 92 seconds into the 2010/11 season in Cologne’s 3-1 defeat at home to Kaiserslautern.

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Having been routed 3-0 by Bayern in Munich last time out, this was another impressive display from Leipzig in their first Bundesliga season.

Centre-back Compper fired RB into an early lead before Werner claimed his 10th goal of the season with a looping header over Frankfurt’s stand-in goalkeeper Heinz Lindner just before the break.

Eintracht’s Spanish defender Vallejo made it 3-0 when he turned a shot from RB’s Marcel Halstenberg into his own net on 67 minutes.

Leipzig’s Davie Selke thought he had netted a late fourth, but referee Deniz Aytekin had whistled for full time a split second before and the goal was disallowed.

It was an important win for Leipzig in the first of three tough games with third-placed Hoffenheim to visit next week before an away match at Borussia Dortmund which will test RB’s mettle as challengers to Bayern.

– Piszczek rescues Dortmund –

Lukasz Piszczek saved Dortmund’s blushes with the winner with a scrappy 2-1 victory at 10-man Werder Bremen to lift them up to fourth.

Dortmund were missing predator Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Gabon, and now trail Bayern by 12 points having climbed from sixth with their first league win since early December.

Bremens’s midfielder Thomas Delaney (R) and Dortmund’s Polish defender Lukasz Piszczek clash for the ball on January 21, 2017 © DPA/AFP / Carmen Jaspersen

Germany forward Andre Schuerrle gave Dortmund an early lead before Fin Bartels’ equaliser after Bremen had goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny sent off in the first half for a foul on Germany winger Marco Reus.

Piszczek hit the winner with a looping shot on 71 minutes.

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Hoffenheim, the only team still unbeaten in Germany’s top flight this season, went third with a 2-0 win at Augsburg.

Sandro Wagner, Hoffenheim’s top scorer, claimed his 11th league goal this season before Andrej Kramaric added a second.

Schalke’s new signing Guido Burgstaller enjoyed a dream debut as the Austria striker netted their 92nd-minute winner in a 1-0 win over Ingolstadt, which lifted the Royal Blues to ninth.

Another new recruit, France international Paul-Georges Ntep, played a key role on his Wolfsburg debut in their 1-0 home victory over Hamburg.

The visitors had Sweden international Albin Ekdal sent off for a second yellow card on 33 minutes for a reckless tackle on Ntep.

The left winger then set up the winner by charging into the area before presenting Germany’s Mario Gomez with a tap-in on 83 minutes to leave Wolfsburg 12th and ease the pressure on coach Valerien Ismael.

Darmstadt’s new coach, ex-Germany midfielder Torsten Frings, earned a point at home for the league’s bottom team as they held Borussia Moenchengladbach to a goalless draw.

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