Improving Leipzig eyeing Champions League qualification
LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) — Leipzig rebounded from its narrow defeat to Bayern Munich by moving to fourth in the Bundesliga after beating visitor Cologne 3-1 on Friday.
Goals from Christopher Nkunku, Dani Olmo and Angeliño helped the home team overtake Cologne, which had been sixth, and move into the last qualification spot for the Champions League ahead of the rest of the 22nd round.
It’s where the energy drink-backed club will hope to be at the end of the season after reaching the Champions League in each of the last three seasons.
Leipzig endured a difficult start to the season under American coach Jesse Marsch but appears to be getting back to form under his successor Domenico Tedesco, who took in December.
Leipzig has won four of its last five games with last weekend’s 3-2 loss in Munich the exception, and won six of the nine games under Tedesco.
Nkunku rewarded the home team’s dominance with the opening goal from a perfectly struck free kick over the visitors’ line of players in the 25th minute. Olmo let fly inside the far post in the 54th and then set up his Spanish compatriot Angeliño to seal the result on a counterattack three minutes later.
Cologne substitute Tim Lemperle scored the visitors’ deserved consolation with a header to a corner in injury time.
Cologne was without top goal-scorer Anthony Modeste, who was out with an unspecified illness. The French striker has 14 of Cologne’s 34 league goals.
Up to 15,000 supporters were allowed in the stadium under new relaxed coronavirus restrictions.
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