Football Football

Aubameyang strike helps Bayern extend lead

Dortmund’s head coach Thomas Tuchel celebrates with forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after their win against Leipzig, in Dortmund, western Germany, on February 4, 2017 © AFP / SASCHA SCHUERMANN

Berlin, Germany, Feb 4 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 17th Bundesliga goal of the season Saturday as Borussia Dortmund’s 1-0 win over flu-hit RB Leipzig left Bayern Munich four points clear at the top.

Aubameyang remains two goals ahead of Bayern hot-shot Robert Lewandowski in the race to be the German league’s top scorer thanks to his superb first-half winner.

The Gabon striker headed home after teenage French winger Ousmane Dembele ghosted past two RB defenders down the right wing and crossed for Aubameyang to head home unmarked on 35 minutes.

Leipzig made Dortmund work for the win as Germany winger Marco Reus squandered two of Dortmund’s four clear second-half chances.

“We won the game, that’s what counts,” a relieved Reus told Sky.

“We put up a good fight, it was a very aggressive game and the win is okay.”

There was drama in added time as Leipzig sub Federico Palacios Martinez, making his Bundesliga debut, put the ball in Dortmund’s net, but was flagged for a marginal offside.

Dortmund’s players celebrate scoring against Leipzig, in Dortmund, western Germany, on February 4, 2017 © dpa/AFP / Friso GENSCH

Leipzig struggled without top-scorer Timo Werner, midfielder Diego Demme and striker Marcel Sabitzer, who all have flu, while playmaker Emil Forsberg was suspended.

The result lifted Dortmund from seventh to third, eight points behind Leipzig, who are four adrift of Bayern after Carlo Ancelotti’s Bavarians had earlier drawn 1-1 with Schalke in Munich.

Lewandowski’s deft chip gave Bayern an early lead at the Allianz Arena before Schalke defender Naldo drilled home a free-kick on 13 minutes to level.

Captain Philipp Lahm made his 500th appearance for Bayern, who had to work for their point.

Dortmund fans wave banners prior to the German First division Bundesliga football match between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, in Dortmund, western Germany, on February 4, 2017 © AFP / SASCHA SCHUERMANN

“It was a tough game because Schalke played well,” said Ancelotti.

“We started well, but were not so compact and our lines between the midfield and defence were too far apart from one another.

“We could only increase the pressure slightly at the end, but it was not enough.”

Bayern made a bright start by taking the lead after nine minutes.

Arturo Vidal threaded a pass to Lewandowski and the Poland striker lifted his shot over Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann.

– Bayern labour –

Bayern Munich’s Thomas Mueller and Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac vie for the ball during their Bundesliga match in Munich on February 4, 2017 © AFP / Guenter SCHIFFMANN

But Schalke kept their composure and equalised four minutes later when Naldo hammered a free-kick past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

It completed the scoring, but both sides squandered clear first-half chances as Schalke striker Guido Burgstaller hit the crossbar, just like Lewandowski did at the other end.

This was a tight, bruising encounter as Schalke fought hard for the point which left them 11th.

Schalke’s Benedikt Hoewedes (L) and Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels (R) react after a clash during their Bundesliga match in Munich, on February 4, 2017 © AFP / Guenter SCHIFFMANN

“Our plan would have worked out 100 percent if we’d won, but we can be very happy and can live with the point,” said a delighted Schalke coach, Markus Weinzierl.

Hoffenheim, the last team in a top European league to lose their unbeaten record last weekend, are fourth after their 4-0 hammering of Mainz at home.

Midfield playmaker Sebastian Rudy’s long pass was chested down by striker Mark Uth, who drilled home his shot with five minutes gone to put Hoffenheim 1-0 up.

Hoffenheim’s Adam Szalai (L) and teammates celebrate a third goal against Mainz in Sinsheim, southern Germany, on February 4, 2017 © AFP / Amelie QUERFURTH

Midfielder Marco Terrazzino headed their second nine minutes from time with replacement striker Adam Szalai then scoring two goals off the bench against his old club.

Hertha moved up to fifth with a 1-0 win at home to strugglers Ingolstadt as Japan midfielder Genki Haraguchi scored the winner after just a minute at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

Cologne are sixth following their 1-0 win at Wolfsburg thanks to Anthony Modeste’s second-half penalty, having been fouled by Wolves goalkeeper Diego Benaglio in the area.

Borussia Moenchengladbach picked up their second straight win with a 3-0 victory at home to Freiburg courtesy of goals from captain Lars Stindl, striker Raffael and winger Patrick Herrmann to go tenth.