RB leaves the door open for BVB: Cologne receives a hard blow in the relegation battle

SV Darmstadt 98 is clinging to the Bundesliga: Instead of being relegated early on matchday 30, the promoted team achieved their first win in half a year – and thus dragged 1. FC Köln even further down. VfL Wolfsburg is gaining some breathing room in the relegation battle, RB Leipzig is ahead in the race for a secure Champions League place.

1. FC Heidenheim – RB Leipzig 1:2 (0:1)

RB Leipzig still has its sights set on direct qualification for the Champions League. Coach Marco Rose’s team won their away game at 1. FC Heidenheim 2-1 (1-0) thanks to a late goal and defended their fourth place in the table a week before the direct duel with pursuers Borussia Dortmund. On Sunday, BVB can draw level with the Saxons again on points against champions Bayer Leverkusen.

Benjamin Sesko (42nd) and Lois Openda (85th) scored for RB. Nikola Dovedan only managed to equalize for the brave Heidenheimers, who can still expect to stay in the first league despite the defeat. RB is now at least secure in fifth place in the table. Due to the recent successes of the German teams in the European Cup, this should also be enough to qualify for the premier class at the end of the season.

As expected, Leipzig took control of the game in the early stages and got their first shots. However, things became really dangerous for the first time on the other side: After a big mistake by Castello Lukeba, Kevin Sessa (11th) suddenly found himself free in front of RB goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who was able to deflect the weak finish to the side.

RB seemed a bit unsettled afterwards, Heidenheim got better and better in the game. Coach Frank Schmidt’s team disrupted the guests early on in the build-up and hardly allowed them to get into the combination game. The only drawback: the Heidenheimers often lacked precision in the switching moments. It took a while for Leipzig to once again appear dangerous in the opponent’s penalty area. RB then showed itself to be brutally efficient: Benedikt Gimber cleared a somewhat unsuccessful cross directly to the feet of Sesko, who scored past two opponents to take the lead.

The second half started disjointed. Two collisions in the center circle caused longer interruptions, and Lennard Maloney was particularly badly hit. Shortly after the Heidenheim midfield director was escorted off the pitch with a shoulder injury, Lois Openda (56th) missed the great chance to make it 2-0. On the other side, Dovedan did better and scored the deserved equalizer. In the final phase, Gulacsi first saved from Tim Kleindienst (77th), on the other side Openda pushed the ball in after a quick attack to take the lead again.

1. FC Cologne – SV Darmstadt 98 0:2 (0:0)

Anxious, sad and very close to relegation: 1. FC Köln lost a very weak “final” against Darmstadt 98 with 0:2 (0:0) – and looked like a team that would lose the lilies at the end of the season accompanied the 2nd Bundesliga. Bottom team Darmstadt postponed relegation again with their first win after 22 league games without success.

Defender Christoph Klarer (57th) and Oscar Vilhelmsson (90th) scored for the guests, and now the penultimate team from Cologne needs a small miracle in the remaining four games. Next weekend the FC has to play against FSV Mainz 05, which is still in relegation place 16, will play at SC Freiburg on Sunday evening (7.30 p.m./DAZN) and can clearly pull away.

Darmstadt attacked the hosts aggressively from the start, won a lot of the balls quite early, but then didn’t know what to do with it. A few times there was confusion around the Cologne penalty area, but not much else happened in the first ten minutes in front of 50,000 spectators. As a result, FC freed themselves and managed to get a few standard situations around the opponent’s penalty area. A corner led to the first chance: Faride Alidou hit the post (18th).

The duel between the weakest defense from Darmstadt and the weakest offensive from Cologne went pretty clearly to the guests until the break. The opportunities that would have presented themselves to FC were all lost due to technical errors, bad passes or misunderstandings – Darmstadt actually seemed more dangerous.

After the break the game became more open without the quality increasing. Both teams got shots, Cologne was repeatedly offside – and then Klarer scored from the crowd after a corner. The audience in Cologne was now losing patience and making their displeasure known. Coach Timo Schultz made several changes, but Cologne continued to struggle with the game at the top. The rest was bewilderment.

TSG Hoffenheim – Borussia Mönchengladbach 4:3 (1:1)

Despite a hat-trick from Robin Hack, Borussia Mönchengladbach has to worry more about staying in the league again. The Gladbachers lost in a wild game 3:4 (1:1) at the recently troubled TSG Hoffenheim, which can once again aim towards the European Cup.

Wout Weghorst (36th), Grischa Prömel (58th), Ozan Kabak (66th) and Anton Stach (90th + 1) scored for the Kraichgauer, who had previously suffered four defeats from five league games. Borussia missed their fifth win in a row against TSG and have to look downwards again. Former Hoffenheimer Hack’s hat-trick (39th/78th/90th) didn’t change that.

The 26,078 spectators in Sinsheim hardly saw any highlights in the first few minutes. Both teams took a wait-and-see approach and relied on long periods of possession. Only Hack caused a little danger (9th). On the other hand, after a quarter of an hour, Andrej Kramaric tried, mostly in vain, to boost TSG’s offensive game in his 250th Bundesliga game.

As the playing time increased, the weakened Gladbachers, who were missing goalkeeper Jonas Omlin, Franck Honorat, Tony Jantschke and Manu Kone, among others, were pushed further and further onto the defensive. Moritz Nicolas, standing between the posts for Omlin, prevented Pavel Kaderabek from going behind (18′). After around half an hour the hosts were even closer to taking the lead. High-flyer Maximilian Beier hit the post with his head (32′). Shortly afterwards, the Gladbachers scored a pinprick on the counterattack through Alassane Plea (34′).

Two minutes later, Rocco Reitz made a serious mistake in defense, which Weghorst used to score his seventh goal of the season after preparation by Kramaric. Hoffenheim’s joy didn’t last long. After preparatory work by Plea, Hack scored. At the last good chance in the first half, Kramaric couldn’t get past Nicolas (45′).

At the beginning of the second half, the aluminum was again in Hoffenheim’s way. Weghorst failed at the post, Kramaric shot past Nicolas (50′). A minute later Kaderabek missed. TSG’s renewed lead was in the air – Prömel secured it with an extremely impressive long-distance goal. Only after falling behind again did Gladbach wake up and push for an equalizer. But Kabak scored the goal on the other side. Afterwards, Gladbach was shocked at first, Hack gave new hope – then substitute Stach struck.

VfL Wolfsburg – VfL Bochum 1:0 (1:0)

VfL Wolfsburg can breathe easy. Coach Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team won the basement duel against VfL Bochum 1-0 (1-0) and moved further away from the relegation place. Bochum could slip into this position after the eighth game in a row without a win on Sunday. The effect of the change of coach was also absent in the second game under Heiko Butscher.

Hasenhüttl, however, celebrated his second success in the fourth game as Wolfsburg coach. Jonas Wind (43rd) redeemed Lower Saxony, who had lost five of the last six matches. It was VfL’s first home win this year.

Wolfsburg immediately went forward and pushed for an early lead. A header from Sebastiaan Bornauw just missed the goal (10th). After a quarter of an hour, the guests loosened their grip a little and had longer periods of possession of the ball. Patrick Osterhage missed the first opportunity (28th). Wolfsburg was now increasingly losing track of things. Goalkeeper Pavao Pervan prevented Takuma Asano from falling behind (32′). Osterhage also scored from an offside position (39′).

The lead shortly before half-time came as a surprise. The disorganized Bochum defense couldn’t clear the ball and Wind scored his tenth goal of the season. It was a relief for the striker: Wind had last scored in November and then went 17 games without a goal.

The hosts almost extended their fortunate half-time lead immediately after the restart. But Tiago Tomas found his match in goalkeeper Manuel Riemann (46th). As a result, both teams lacked a clear playing line. The importance of the encounter was evident to the teams. Hasenhüttl wanted to bring a breath of fresh air with a triple substitution (65th). Substitute Amin Sarr’s shot was too harmless (67′). A minute later, a header from Bornauw caused no problems for goalkeeper Riemann.

Bochum struggled offensively but suddenly had a great chance to equalize. But Philipp Hofmann headed just wide from close range (71′). Wolfsburg trembled towards the final whistle.

source site-33