VAR denies Leipzig bid to cut Bayern’s lead to two points

Leipzig’s title bid suffered a setback on Friday as it was held to a 0-0 draw with Hoffenheim.

Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner (right) challenges for the ball with Leipzig’s Willi Orban.   -  AP

Leipzig had an injury-time winner ruled out through VAR and had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. It was potentially a title-deciding decision on Friday.

MATCH CENTRE

A win for host Leipzig would have cut Bayern Munich’s lead to two points ahead of its tough game at third-place Wolfsburg on Saturday. Defending champion Bayern now has the chance to pull seven points clear with five rounds remaining after this weekend.

Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann acknowledged his team's title bid was becoming increasingly difficult. “We have to win the games to manage it, but we didn't manage it, and that's why we don't have to talk about it so much,” Nagelsmann said.

Substitute Yussuf Poulsen thought he had scored in the 96th minute after heading in Marcel Halstenberg's corner, but referee Manuel Gräfe reviewed video replays and determined that the ball struck Poulsen's hand.

It was Hoffenheim's second consecutive scoreless draw after another uninspiring game against Bayer Leverkusen on Monday, but it was enough to lift the visitor to 11th on goal difference ahead of the rest of the 29th round.

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Nagelsmann, who is still just 33, was up against his former side in Hoffenheim, which he led to third place and Champions League qualification in 2018. Both Nagelsmann and Hoffenheim counterpart Sebastian Hoeness reacted at the break after a muted first half.

Nagelsmann brought on Kevin Kampl and Amadou Haidara for the ineffective Angeliño and Nordi Mukiele, while Hoeness sent on Ihlas Bebou for Georginio Rutter. Hoeness was forced into another change early in the second half when Mijat Gacinovic replaced the injured Florian Grillitsch.

Christopher Nkunku had the game's first real chance before the hour-mark when he forced a save from Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, a minute before Tyler Adams missed another good chance for Leipzig.

Alexander Sörloth, another substitute, should have done better when he fired over from a promising position, while Bebou missed the visitors' best chance in the 75th.