Wed, Apr 11, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Leverkusen win UEFA Champions League showdown


Julian Brandt starred on Monday as Bayer 04 Leverkusen outclassed RB Leipzig 4-1 to move above the hosts into the Bundesliga’s last qualification spot for the UEFA Champions League.

The Germany midfielder, who extended his Leverkusen contract last week, scored one goal and was involved in two more as his side moved to fourth, two points clear of Eintracht Frankfurt and Leipzig with five matches remaining.

“Such games are fun, especially when you score one or two cherries in the second half, the happiness comes back and you could see that with us today,” Brandt said of Leverkusen’s best performance of the season.

Marcel Sabitzer fired the home side into an early lead with a fine strike inside the left post, but Leverkusen fought back and deservedly equalized before halftime through Kai Havertz, picked out by Leon Bailey to volley home.

Brandt scored minutes after the break with a fine finish and was involved again when Panagiotis Retsos made it 3-1 shortly afterward.

Brandt’s cross deflected off Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano before Retsos fired it in.

Brandt then returned the favor from his earlier goal by setting up Kevin Volland for Leverkusen’s fourth.

Leipzig were dealt another blow when Naby Keita had to go off after colliding with Leno.

The side will be hoping the midfielder is fit enough to face Olympique de Marseille in the UEFA Europa League tomorrow.

The loss ended Leipzig’s run of seven games without defeat across all competitions.

They had won their previous three — beating Bayern Munich and Hannover 96 in the Bundesliga, and then Marseille 1-0 away in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Leverkusen’s form, in contrast, had been erratic with three wins and three defeats in their previous seven games, but only their fans could be heard singing as the match ended.

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