Leipzig beat Hoffenheim 2-0 to tighten grip on Champions slot

Sports Desk, Jun 12 (efe-epa).- Spain international Dani Olmo scored twice in three minutes Friday to lead RB Leipzig 2-0 over hosts Hoffenheim as Bundesliga Match Day 31 got under way.

The win boosted the third-place Red Bulls to 62 points, 6 more than both Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, each with a game in hand.

Though Leipzig have yet to string together successive victories since the Bundesliga returned to action on May 16 after a two-month halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Julian Nagelsmann’s men look assured of a top-four finish and Champions League play in 2020-2021.

While Friday’s performance marked a major improvement from last week’s embarrassing home draw against last-place Paderborn.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, are in seventh place with 43 points, 2 behind Wolfsburg in the battle for the final Europa League berth.

The match was Hoffenheim’s first since firing coach Alfred Schreuder after just 33 games in charge.

In place of Schreuder, who succeeded Nagelsmann in Hoffenheim, the squad will be managed by a collective of assistant coaches for the three matches remaining in the 2019-2020 season.

Hoffenheim enjoyed a slight edge on possession, outshot Leipzig and had nine corners to just one for the visitors.

And the hosts got a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 8th minute when Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi tripped Moanes Dabour and the referee awarded a penalty.

But just as Dabour was poised to take the shot, the penalty was withdrawn because the VAR review detected a Hoffenheim hand-ball ahead of the foul.

So instead of taking the lead, Hoffenheim found themselves trailing 1-0 in the 9th minute on the first of Olmo’s goals. The Spaniard collected a pass from Nordi Mukiele and beat Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Bauman.

Olmo completed the brace two minutes later, striking home from the 18-yard line with an assist from Marcel Sabitzer.

Acquired from Dinamo Zagreb in the winter transfer window, Olmo quickly established himself as a starter and has three goals for Leipzig in the five matches since the re-start.

Hoffenheim forced a trio of stops from Gulacsi, yet Leipzig had the better chances and should have gotten at least one more goal.

EFE apa/dr

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