European roundup: Leipzig battle back from two goals down to beat Gladbach

RB Leipzig’s Alexander Sørloth headed in a stoppage-time winner as they battled back from two goals down to beat visitors Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-2 in the Bundesliga on Saturday to stay two points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

Sørloth, who came on as a second striker in the 46th minute, headed home at the far post to complete a second-half comeback deep into added time to secure a fifth straight league win.

Gladbach, now without a victory in their last five league games, had stunned Leipzig with two goals in the opening 19 minutes, one from in-form Jonas Hofmann’s sixth minute penalty and the second a flick off Marcus Thuram’s shoulder.

The hosts, who were lucky not to concede a third goal before the break, shot out of the blocks in the second half and overran their opponents, scoring twice in nine minutes to level. Christopher Nkunku tapped in a cut-back in the 57th and Yussuf Poulsen then thundered in a shot that went in off the post to equalise in the 66th.

“We delivered a top game and deserved to win,” Poulsen said, “With such a performance our self-confidence is very high. It gives us a boost.”

The substitute Emil Forsberg’s 76th-minute free kick forced a sensational save out of Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer, who tipped it onto the bar as the visitors thought they had done enough for a draw. But Sørloth beat his marker to head in the late winner.

It was Gladbach’s third straight defeat in all competitions, including a 2-0 midweek loss at home to Manchester City in their Champions League last-16 first leg, since coach Marco Rose announced his departure at the end of the season to Borussia Dortmund.

Earlier on Saturday Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both struck twice as Bayern Munich crushed Cologne 5-1 to earn their first win in three league games. Apart from Lewandowski and Gnabry, Bayern were also indebted to Leon Goretzka who delivered another silky performance with three assists.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting opened the champions’ account with his first league goal this season, heading in Goretzka’s cross at the far post in the 18th minute. Lewandowski struck 15 minutes later, combining with Goretzka after a bad pass back from Cologne and the striker then made it 28 league goals from an assist by Thomas Müller, seconds after the midfielder came on in the 65th minute following a coronavirus infection.

Müller is the league’s top provider with 11 assists while Lewandowski is looking to break Gerd Müller’s record of 40 league goals in one season dating back to the 1971-72 campaign.

Gnabry came on and completed the rout with two late goals in four minutes. “For our way forward we have to stop having these shaky periods during the match,” Gnabry said. “We have to reduce them and then we will be stronger.”

Such phases during their recent games have proved costly for Bayern, including a 3-3 against strugglers Arminia Bielefeld two weeks ago and their 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt last week. Cologne had briefly cut the deficit four minutes after the restart with Ellyes Skhiri making the most of blunders by three Bayern defenders.

In Serie A, lacklustre Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw by Hellas Verona after Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener was cancelled out by a towering header from Antonin Barak.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal was not enough to give Juventus an overdue away win.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal was not enough to give Juventus an overdue away win. Photograph: Isabella Bonotto/AFP/Getty Images

The result leaves Juve in third place on 46 points, three behind Milan and seven adrift of leaders Inter Milan after 23 games, while Verona are ninth with 35 points from 24.

Ronaldo fired in his 19th goal league this season early in the second half but Barak guided home a 78th-minute equaliser as the champions’ poor run of away form continued.

Andrea Pirlo’s side have picked up four points from their last four league games on the road, and the woodwork saved them twice against a spirited Verona side who deserved a point.

In Spain, Ousmane Dembélé and Lionel Messi fired Barcelona to a confidence-boosting 2-0 win at in-form Sevilla to keep the pressure on the La Liga leaders, Atlético Madrid.

Dembélé latched on to a through ball from Messi and knocked it through the legs of Sevilla goalkeeper Bono to give Barça a deserved lead in the 29th minute after they had dominated the first half, barely giving their hosts a hint of a chance.

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Sevilla improved after the break but Barcelona continued to have the edge and found a second goal when Messi played a one-two with 18-year-old midfielder Ilaix Moriba and netted with a scrappy finish, after having his first effort saved by Bono.

The result ended a six-game winning streak in the league for Sevilla, who remained fourth in the standings on 48 points, while Barça climbed to second with 53 points, two behind frontrunners Atlético but having played two more games