• Tuesday, Jun 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:19 am

Frankfurt dent Leipzig's title hopes as Japanese stars shine

  • Published at 03:07 pm March 15th, 2021
Daichi Kamada
Frankfurt's Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada plays the ball during their German first division Bundesliga match against RB Leipzig in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on Sunday, March 14, 2021.AFP

Kamada cancelled out Emil Forsberg's opener to consolidate Frankfurt's place in the top four and see second-placed Leipzig slip four points behind league leaders Bayern

Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada's second-half equaliser dealt a blow to RB Leipzig's Bundesliga title hopes on Sunday as the main pretenders to Bayern Munich's throne were held 1-1 at home by top-four rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.

Kamada cancelled out Emil Forsberg's opener to consolidate Frankfurt's place in the top four and see second-placed Leipzig slip four points behind league leaders Bayern.

"We should have won today. We're annoyed about the result, but not about the performance" said Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann. 

Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp denied Justin Kluivert with a smart save early on, while Leipzig captain Willi Orban had a goal ruled out for offside on 14 minutes.

The hosts finally broke through just after the break, Forsberg smashing in the rebound after Trapp saved another long-range effort from Kluivert.

Yet Kamada fired in a smart half-volley shortly after the hour mark to bring Frankfurt level.

Leipzig travel to Arminia Bielefeld next week ahead of their season-defining clash with Bayern on April 3.

"We need to make sure we get all three points next weekend," Leipzig sporting director Markus Kroesche told Sky.

- Bielefeld stun Leverkusen -

Japanese stars also hogged the headlines in Sunday's earlier game as goals from Ritsu Doan and Masaya Okugawa fired Arminia Bielefeld to a surprise 2-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen.

Okugawa's debut Bundesliga goal lifted Bielefeld out of the bottom three for the first time since January and dealt an untimely blow to Leverkusen's Champions League qualification hopes.

"To score my first Bundesliga goal in such an important win is brilliant," Okugawa told broadcaster DAZN. 

Asked whether he would be having a drink to celebrate, the Japanese replied: "No! I don't like beer!"

While Arminia now sit one point clear of the drop zone, Leverkusen have dropped to sixth and are four points adrift of the top four.

After a dominant first 15 minutes from the hosts, Bielefeld took the lead with their first shot on goal.

Given acres of space on the right wing, Christian Gebauer's cross found the advancing Doan, who prodded the ball in off the bar to score his fourth league goal of the season.

Okugawa doubled the lead on the counter-attack just before the hour mark, slotting home his first goal since joining Bielefeld on loan from Salzburg in January.

Patrik Schick's 85th minute tap-in gave Leverkusen brief hope of a late fightback, but Bielefeld held on to claim their sixth win of the season.

In Sunday's late game, Silas Wamangituka inspired Stuttgart to a 2-0 win over local rivals Hoffenheim.

The Congolese winger was involved in both goals, first delivering the cross for Kasim Adams' own goal before setting up team-mate Sasa Kalajdzic in the second half to seal the win.

Victory keeps Stuttgart in the race for European qualification, with the promoted side just four points adrift of the top six and hot on the heels of fellow high-fliers Union Berlin.

"We always want the maximum, so if we finish the season up there on a European spot, all the better," said Stuttgart's Gonzalo Castro

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