BERLIN: Leipzig kept Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich waiting for its title with a 2-0 win over 10-man Stuttgart on Sunday.
Leipzig cut the gap on Bayern to seven points with three rounds remaining and can mathematically still win the title if Bayern follows its surprise 2-1 loss at Mainz on Saturday with a late-season collapse. Bayern next hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach on May 8, when it can seal a record-extending ninth straight title.
Leipzig's focus was on Champions League qualification, virtually assured with Julian Nagelsmann's team consolidating second place. Leipzig is nine points ahead of fifth-place Borussia Dortmund. The top four qualify for Europe's premier competition.
Nagelsmann's side had been hoping to make amends after just one win in its last four games. Its last match ended in a surprise defeat to relegation candidate Cologne. "The game and the win were important because otherwise we would have been in an uncomfortable position," said Leipzig midfielder Kevin Kampl, whose team next has a German Cup semifinal against struggling Werder Bremen on Friday.
"We'll go into the game with complete engagement. We want to reach the final. It's not going so well for Bremen, so they've nothing to lose in the cup. But the German Cup writes its own stories," Kampl said. Dortmund hosts second-division Holstein Kiel in the other semifinal.
Leipzig's task was made easier early on when Stuttgart's Naouirou Ahamada was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Amadou Haidara. Referee Deniz Aytekin initially showed yellow but changed his mind after getting a prompt from the video referee to check replays.
In a lighter moment, Ibrahima Konaté had been playing while wearing substitute Dayot Upamecano’s shorts. The French defender had to change on the sidelines into his No. 6.
Stuttgart goalkeeper Gregor Kobel kept the game scoreless to the break, but Haidara made the breakthrough right after it, when Dani Olmo crossed for the Mali midfielder to score his third goal of the season.
Kobel produced an outstanding double-save to deny Angeliño, and Olmo from the rebound, in the 63rd - four minutes before Emil Forsberg made it 2-0 with a penalty. Stuttgart has now lost its last four games, leaving the club a point off the 40 total that sporting director Sven Mislintat identified as its target for the season.
GLADBACH ROUTS BIELEFELD
Breel Embolo scored twice as Borussia Mönchengladbach routed relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld 5-0. The Switzerland striker opened the scoring in the sixth minute before Marcus Thuram's strike and Ramy Bensebaini's penalty had Gladbach 3-0 up after 18 minutes.
The home side had to wait until the 69th for Embolo to grab the fourth goal. He then set up Alassane Plea to complete the scoring in the 84th. Bielefeld remained a point above the relegation zone while Gladbach reclaimed seventh place on goal difference from Union Berlin.