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Leipzig ease past Frankfurt in Bundesliga

Associated Press logo Associated Press 21/01/2017

Leipzig have closed within three points of the top spot in the Bundesliga with a 3-0 win over Frankfurt, while Hoffenheim remained the only unbeaten team in Europe's five biggest leagues.

Frankfurt goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky handed a crucial advantage to Leipzig when he was sent off after just three minutes for needlessly handling the ball outside his area. Substitute goalkeeper Heinz Lindner saved the resulting free kick but defender Marvin Compper scored on the rebound.

Despite the numerical advantage, Leipzig still looked shaky in the first half and had to rely on goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi for a double save to deny Ante Rebic in the 25th minute, then an acrobatic stop for Rebic's curler 10 minutes later.

Timo Werner doubled Leipzig's lead with a looping header just before halftime, before an own goal by Jesus Vallejo in the 67th.

The win ensured Leipzig kept pace with Bayern Munich, who extended their lead to six points on Friday with a 2-1 win over Freiburg.

Hoffenheim and its 29-year-old coach Julian Nagelsmann stayed third with a 2-0 defeat of Augsburg, which stretched Hoffenheim's unbeaten league run this season to 18 games.

Six of Hoffenheim's preceding seven league games had been draws, but the team from southwestern Germany wrapped up a solid win over Augsburg thanks to Sandro Wagner's goal just after the break and Andrej Kramaric's 64th-minute effort.

Hoffenheim sit 11 points off Bayern in third, at the head of a pack of teams fighting for the European places.

Fourth-placed Dortmund struggled to a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen, even though Bremen lost goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny to a red card in the 39th for bringing down Marco Reus.

Dortmund was leading at the time thanks to Andre Schuerrle's fifth-minute goal, but Bremen struck back after the break through Fin Bartels before Lukasz Piszczek gave Dortmund the win in the 71st.

Schalke beat Ingolstadt 1-0 with a stoppage-time winner by Guido Burgstaller.

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