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Openda strikes again as Leipzig tighten grip on fourth with Heidenheim win

football20 April 2024 15:50| Ā© AFP
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Lois Openda Ā© Getty Images

RB Leipzig tightened their grip on fourth place, the final guaranteed Champions League spot, with a 2-1 win at promoted Heidenheim on Saturday as Lois Openda scored his 23rd goal of the season.

Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko opened the scoring shortly before halftime, pouncing on some disorganised defending from the home side for his 10th league goal of the season.

Heidenheim, who have beaten Bayern Munich and drawn with Borussia Dortmund twice in their first season in the top division, struck back with 20 minutes remaining, Nikola Dovedan heading in a rebounded free kick from Jan-Niklas Beste.

Leipzig, who are in a battle with fellow Champions League regulars Dortmund for fourth place, struck back with five minutes remaining, Openda tapping in a Mohamed Simakan cross.

Leipzig now sit in outright fourth, three points clear of Dortmund who host champions Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.

Leipzig host the fifth-placed side next week in what will be a crucial clash in the battle for fourth, although the performance of German teams in Europe ā€“ including Dortmund's progression to the Champions League semifinals ā€“ may mean the top five Bundesliga clubs qualify for Europe.

HACK HAT-TRICK NOT ENOUGH

Elsewhere, a hat-trick from Borussia Moenchengladbach's Robin Hack was not enough as his side lost 4-3 at Hoffenheim.

All but two of the goals were scored in the second half in a sea-sawing encounter.

Hoffenheim led 3-1 midway through the second half before Hack scored twice in 11 minutes to level the score with just a minute remaining.

Anton Stach scored in stoppage time for the home side to snatch victory, with Hoffenheim now eighth and still a chance of finishing in the European placings.

Bottom side Darmstadt won their first league match since October, beating second-last Cologne 2-0.

Darmstadt's goals came in the second half from Oscar Vilhelmsson and Cristoph Klarer.

Despite the win, Darmstadt remain 10 points from safety with four games remaining.

Cologne's chances of beating the drop are falling fast, with the side five points away from 15th-placed Bochum, the final safe spot.

Bochum lost 1-0 at Wolfsburg, with Ralph Hasenhuettl's side winning thanks to a goal from Jonas Wind.

Wind's goal deepened Bochum's woes a week after sacking coach Thomas Letsch, with the side just one point clear of the relegation spots.

In Saturday's late game, Union Berlin host Bayern.

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