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Leon Bailey shines as Leverkusen climb to second

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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BERLIN, Germany (AFP) — Jamaica winger Leon Bailey produced a superb back-heeled goal in a dazzling display as Bayer Leverkusen went third in the Bundesliga with a 4-1 win at Hoffenheim on Saturday.

The 20-year-old showed why Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly chasing him with an audacious back-heeled shot, which beat several defenders on 43 minutes at Hoffenheim.

He then wrong-footed his marker and swung in a cross from the left wing to Lars Bender who set up Austrian defensive midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger on 52 minutes.

Bailey again caused more misery in Hoffenheim's ranks by providing the final pass for Argentina striker Lucas Alario before Adam Szalai grabbed a late goal for Hoffenheim.

The win allowed Leverkusen to snatch second from RB Leipzig and get back to winning ways after last weekend's home defeat to leaders Bayern Munich, who host strugglers Werder Bremen on Sunday with a 13-point lead.

RB Leipzig dropped to third after a shock 2-1 defeat at gritty Freiburg, who are unbeaten in their last seven games and moved seven points clear of the relegation zone.

The visitors had goals by Kevin Kampl and Bruma disallowed before Germany striker Timo Werner finally gave Leipzig a 66th-minute lead.

The game turned in four minutes when Janik Haberer smashed home Freiburg's equaliser, then 21-year-old defender Robert Koch headed the winner from a corner.

Borussia Moenchengladbach are up to fourth after a Matthias Ginter header and tremendous Thorgan Hazard strike, following a superb run, sealed their 2-0 win at home to Augsburg.

Borussia Dortmund are fifth after Friday's 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin.

Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was again dropped from Dortmund's starting line-up and Borussia confirmed on Saturday they have had contact with Arsenal about a possible transfer.

Stuttgart goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler dented his hopes of a Germany recall for March's friendlies against Spain and Brazil with two howling errors in the 3-2 defeat at Mainz on Saturday.

Hosts Mainz gifted Stuttgart the opening goal when Alexander Hack turned the ball into his own net on 19 minutes.

Mainz replied with three unanswered goals as Japan striker Yoshinori Muto stabbed the ball home from close range at the second attempt just before the break, then his shot dipped under the diving Zieler.

Zeiler was also at fault for Mainz's third goal when he allowed Gerrit Holtmann's shot to roll away from him and into the net on 64 minutes before Stuttgart defender Daniel Ginczek made it 3-2 with a late header.

The win means Mainz trade places with Stuttgart just above the relegation zone.

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