Leipzig hang on to last CL spot, Hertha to face survival playoff

Published May 15, 2022
WOLFSBURG: Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (second R) scores during the Bundesliga match against VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday.—Reuters
WOLFSBURG: Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (second R) scores during the Bundesliga match against VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday.—Reuters

BERLIN: RB Leipzig scored in added time through Willi Orban to snatch a 1-1 draw at Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday and secure their Champions League berth for next season with a fourth-place finish in the Bundesliga as their opponents were relegated.

Leipzig needed at least a point to make sure of a top four finish, but their job was made easier after Freiburg lost 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen to fall short on the last matchday.

Janni Serra scored for Arminia in the 70th minute, but Orban made sure of a point in stoppage time.

Leipzig join champions Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and third-placed Leverkusen in the Champions League.

BIELEFELD: RB Leipzig’s Willi Orban (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring during the Bundesliga match against Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.—AFP
BIELEFELD: RB Leipzig’s Willi Orban (C) celebrates with team-mates after scoring during the Bundesliga match against Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.—AFP

Arminia remained in 17th and will join Greuther Fuerth in the second division, while Hertha Berlin, who finished in 16th place after losing 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund, will go into a relegation playoff against the team which finishes third in the second division.

Dortmund forward Erling Haaland scored on his last game for the German club with the Norwegian star set to complete a long-awaited move to Manchester City for next season.

Hertha took the lead with an 18th minute penalty, after Ishak Belfodil was brought down in the box and the Algerian stepped up to convert the spot kick himself.

Dortmund took a long time to react but eventually got a penalty of their own for a hand ball by Marvin Plattenhardt, and Haaland, who also scored on his debut in the Bundesliga, scored on his final appearance for the club to make it all square.

Youssoufa Moukoko’s superb low shot in the 84th that went in off the post snatched the three points for the hosts as Hertha finished in 16th following a dramatic stoppage-time winner for VfB Stuttgart over Cologne that lifted them to 15th and safety.

There were dramatic scenes in Stuttgart where Japan midfielder Wataru Endo scored a stoppage-time winner to seal a 2-1 win over Cologne.

Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic made amends for having a first-half penalty saved by heading in the resulting corner 26 seconds later.

Cologne equalised when veteran French striker Anthony Modeste headed in his 20th goal of the season until Endo struck.

Stuttgart fans stormed the pitch at the final whistle to kick off the celebrations.

Cologne finish seventh to qualify for the Europa Conference League.

Union Berlin will play in the Europa League next season after finishing fifth after Nigeria striker Taiwo Awoniyi netted twice to seal a 3-2 win.

Union raced into a 2-0 lead as Grischa Proemel gave the hosts an early lead before Awoniyi converted a penalty.

Bochum roared back as Simon Zoller headed in a goal, then Eduard Loewen levelled before Awoniyi grabbed a late winner.

Freiburg finished sixth after Leverkusen’s Argentinian defender Exequiel Palacios scored the winner seven minutes into stoppage time.

BAYERN INSIST LEWANDOWSKI WILL STAY

Champions Bayern Munich squandered a two-goal lead to end their season with a 2-2 draw at VfL Wolfsburg with Robert Lewandowski banging in his 35th league goal as the club contradicted reports their top-scoring striker could join Barcelona this summer.

“Lewy has a contract until June 2023,” Bayern director Hasan Salihamidzic said before the match. “There have been no conversations between Bayern Munich and other clubs. Our position is clear.”

Bayern, who had secured their 10th straight league title weeks earlier, insist Lewandowski will stay, yet German media outlets claim the 33-year-old has refused to sign an extension and wants to join Barcelona for next season.

A crisp Lewandowski header from a Thomas Mueller cross put Bayern 2-0 up after defender Josip Stanisic netted his first Bundesliga goal for the visitors.

Jonas Wind pulled one back for the host on the stroke of halftime and Max Kruse slotted in just before the hour mark to draw them level as Bayern ran out of ideas.

Elsewhere on the final day, Germany midfielder Jonas Hofmann scored twice as Borussia Moenchengladbach thrashed Hoffenheim 5-1.

Brazil defender Tutu and Colombia striker Rafael Borre hit the net as Eintracht Frankfurt tuned up for Wednesday’s Europa League final against Rangers with a 2-2 draw at Mainz 05.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022

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