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Leipzig down Hertha to knock Bayern from top

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Leipzig´s defender Willi Orban celebrates with his teamate after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match between RB Leipzig and Hertha BSC Berlin in Leipzig, eastern Germany on December 17, 2016. ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP

Leipzig´s defender Willi Orban celebrates with his teamate after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match between RB Leipzig and Hertha BSC Berlin in Leipzig, eastern Germany on December 17, 2016.<br />ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP

RB Leipzig knocked Bayern Munich, who they meet in five days’ time, off the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 2-0 win at home to Hertha Berlin.

With Bayern at bottom side Darmstadt on Sunday, Leipzig took their chance to reclaim top spot with a convincing win at the sold-out Red Bull Arena.

Leipzig, who had led for three weeks before last Saturday, are now three points clear.

However, Carlo Ancelotti’s Munich can regain top spot due to their superior goal difference by beating Darmstadt, ahead of Wednesday’s mouth-watering clash against Leipzig at the Allianz Arena.

Goals either side of the break by striker Timo Werner and burly centre-back and captain Willi Orban sealed Leipzig’s win.

It put RB back on track after last Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat at Ingolstadt which ended their 13-match unbeaten run — a record for a team at the start of their first Bundesliga season.

Leipzig used their 64 percent possession to create 16 shots to Hertha’s three and made nearly twice as many passes.

Pal Dardai’s Berlin drop to fourth after the defeat.

Leipzig went ahead when Guinea midfielder Naby Keita played Werner into the box and he darted between two defenders to slot home on 41 minutes.

It was the ninth goal in 15 games for RB’s top scorer.

Werner has been working with the club’s psychologist having been booed by Ingolstadt fans every time he got the ball.

That had been the 20-year-old’s first appearance since winning a penalty in the 2-1 win over Schalke a fortnight ago with what the club later admitted was a dive.

Werner was shown a yellow against Hertha for play-acting when he went to the turf after being blocked by Berlin’s centre-back Jens Hegeler on 59 minutes.

Leipzig sealed the win on 62 minutes when Orban got on the end of Emil Forsberg’s corner kick and powered his header home, giving Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein little chance.

Orban looked to have claimed his second on 78 minutes, but the linesman flagged with three Leipzig players offside.

Elsewhere, Mainz midfielder Danny Latza hit a hat-trick in his team’s 3-1 home win over strugglers Hamburg.

Augsburg’s caretaker-coach Manuel Baum got off to winning start as Martin Hinteregger scored from a corner in their 1-0 home home over Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry rescued a point for Werder Bremen with his sixth league goal this season in their 1-1 draw with Cologne to cancel out Artjoms Rudnevs’ goal.

Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka netted for Schalke in their 1-1 draw with Freiburg.

On Friday, 10-man Borussia Dortmund earned a 2-2 draw at Hoffenheim as the league’s top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, netted their second-half equaliser for his 16th goal of the season.

Hoffenheim remain the only unbeaten team in Germany’s top flight this season while Dortmund had Germany winger Marco Reus sent off for a second booking in the first half.


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