20.04.2024 18:55 h

Openda strikes again as Leipzig tighten grip on fourth

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

Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko opened the scoring shortly before half-time, pouncing on some disorganised defending from the home side for his 10th league goal this term.

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 following a free-kick.

Leipzig, who are in a battle with Champions League semi-finalists Dortmund for fourth place, grabbed the winner with five minutes remaining when Openda tapped in a Mohamed Simakan pass.

Leipzig sit three points clear of Dortmund who host champions Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.

RB captain Willi Orban was pleased his side made it through an "incredibly difficult match", telling Sky "plenty of top sides have dropped points here, but we've taken all three -- it was deserved."

Leipzig host Dortmund next week, but the performance of German teams in Europe may mean the top five Bundesliga clubs qualify for the Champions League next season.

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 see-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 hopeful of finishing in the European places.

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. They are 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.