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Bayern edge Leipzig in five-goal thriller to pull clear at top

BERLIN (AFP) – Bayern Munich strengthened their grip on the top of the Bundesliga table on Saturday, as they snatched a thrilling 3-2 win over RB Leipzig thanks to a second-half own goal from Josko Gvardiol.

The champions held off a spirited display from Leipzig to decide a dramatic, end-to-end battle in their favour and pull nine points clear at the top overnight.

Bayern’s eighth win in nine games heaps pressure on second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who faced Bayer Leverkusen yesterday.

Bayern burst out of the blocks with an opener on 12 minutes, Thomas Mueller tapping into the empty net after Peter Gulacsi parried a low shot from Robert Lewandowski.

Manuel Neuer twice denied Dani Olmo at the other end, before a mistake from Corentin Tolisso in midfield allowed Leipzig to break and equalise just before the half-hour mark.
Konrad Laimer’s initial effort was drifting wide before Andre Silva popped up at the far post to bundle it in for his sixth goal in seven games.

Mueller then had a goal ruled out by VAR before Lewandowski restored the lead shortly before half-time.

Tolisso tore Leipzig apart with a brilliant through ball, Kingsley Coman curled the ball into the box and Lewandowski sent a ferocious header past Gulacsi.

The game continued to sparkle in the second half, Lewandowski coming close at one end before Bayern were caught off guard by another cut-throat Leipzig attack.

Laimer once again grabbed the assist, this time threading a devastating pass through to Christopher Nkunku, who slotted the ball past Neuer.

Bayern were in front again just five minutes later, however, when Gvardiol diverted a Serge Gnabry cross into his own net.

Leipzig had several chances to snatch a point late on, but both Dominik Szoboszlai and Emil Forsberg were frustrated by Neuer.

Elsewhere, crisis-hit Borussia Moenchengladbach were held 1-1 at Arminia Bielefeld, while high-flying minnows Freiburg and Union Berlin both slumped to surprise defeats in the race for the Champions League.