Thu, 25 Feb 2021

BERLIN, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Leipzig suffered a setback in the title race after Mainz bounced back from one goal down to secure all three points on home soil courtesy of Moussa Niakhate's brace in the 18th round of the Bundesliga on Saturday.

As expected, second-placed Leipzig took the reins on the road and pressed hosts Mainz into defense.

It took the visitors only 15 minutes to mark the opener after Marcel Sabitzer's hammer from 20 meters was tipped onto the bar by goalkeeper Robin Zentner before Tyler Adams poked home the rebound.

It was a short-lived joy for the Bulls as relegation contenders Mainz restored parity out of the blue nine minutes later. Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi blocked a flicked on free-kick into the path of Niakhate, who made no mistake from very close range.

Leipzig responded and grabbed the lead again at the half-hour mark when Marcel Halstenberg chested Dayot Upamecano's headed across before drilling the ball past Zentner from five meters.

Leipzig's lead again didn't last long as Mainz stunned the visitors with the equalizer only five minutes later after Niakhate had all time and space following a corner.

The hosts then grabbed a perfect start into the second half after Danny da Costa raced down the right wing before squaring the ball to Leonardo Barreiro, who scored his first-ever Bundesliga goal in the 50th minute.

Leipzig pressed frenetically for the equalizer but Mainz's defense stood firm and was able to protect its narrow lead, despite promising chances from Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku and Nordi Mukiele in the closing stages.

With the result, Mainz stays in 17th place but returned to winning ways after ten winless games in a row while second-placed Leipzig dropped points in the title race and sit four points adrift of front runners Bayern Munich for the moment.

Elsewhere, Ridle Baku's sole goal helped clinical Wolfsburg to move 1-0 past third-placed Bayer Leverkusen to jump into the top four.

Freiburg came from behind and edged newly promoted Stuttgart 2-1 on first-half goals from Ermedin Demirovic and Jeong Woo-Yeong.

Augsburg ended its negative run of three straight defeats as two goals from Florian Niederlechner downed Union Berlin 2-1.

Relentless Eintracht Frankfurt showed no mercy with newcomers Arminia Bielefeld after clinching a 5-1 triumph and Werder Bremen beat Hertha Berlin 4-1.

The following encounters complete the 18th round on Sunday: front runners Bayern Munich travel to last-placed Schalke and Hoffenheim take on relegation-threatened Cologne.

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