Berlin: Winger Leon Bailey produced a superb back-heeled goal in a dazzling display as Bayer Leverkusen went second in the Bundesliga with a 4-1 win at Hoffenheim on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Jamaican showed why Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are reportedly chasing him with an audacious first-half shot which beat several defenders.
He then wrong-footed his marker and swung in a cross from the left wing to Lars Bender who set up Austrian defensive midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger to double the lead in the 51st minute.
Bailey again caused more misery in Hoffenheim's ranks by providing the final pass for Argentina striker Lucas Alario, for the first of his two second-half goals, before Adam Szalai grabbed a late consolation for Hoffenheim.
The win allowed Leverkusen to snatch second from RB Leipzig and get back to winning ways after last weekend's home defeat by leaders Bayern Munich, who are 13 points clear host strugglers Werder Bremen on Sunday.
Just one point separates the six clubs behind Bayern in the league table, with seventh-placed Eintracht Frankfurt one adrift of Leverkusen.
"We are delighted with the three points – which weren't expected, especially not so emphatically and after such an open first half," said Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich.
RB Leipzig dropped to third after a shock 2-1 defeat at Freiburg, who are unbeaten in seven games and moved seven points clear of the relegation zone.
The visitors had goals by Kevin Kampl and Bruma disallowed before Germany striker Timo Werner finally gave Leipzig a 66th-minute lead.
But the game turned in four minutes when Janik Haberer smashed home Freiburg's equaliser and 21-year-old defender Robert Koch headed in the winner from a corner.
Borussia Moenchengladbach moved up to fourth after a Matthias Ginter header and tremendous Thorgan Hazard strike, following a superb run, sealed a 2-0 home win over Augsburg.
Borussia Dortmund drop to fifth after Friday's 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin.
Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was again left out of the Dortmund squad and Borussia confirmed on Saturday they have had contact with Arsenal about a possible transfer.
Stuttgart goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler dented his hopes of a Germany recall for March's friendlies against Spain and Brazil with two howling errors in the 3-2 defeat at Mainz on Saturday.
Holger Badstuber's deflected effort from a set-piece gave Stuttgart a 19thth-minute lead, after which Mainz replied with three.
Japan striker Yoshinori Muto stabbed the ball home at the second attempt, then his long-range shot dipped under the diving Zieler, who was also at fault for Mainz's third goal when Gerrit Holtmann's blocked shot rolled away from him.
Stuttgart defender Daniel Ginczek netted a late header, but Mainz won and traded places with Stuttgart just above the relegation zone.
Frankfurt moved up to seventh after their 3-1 win at ten-man Wolfsburg, who had striker Landry Dimata sent off for two yellow cards.
Bottom side Cologne earned a 2-0 win at Hamburg to claim their first away win this season and third straight league victory, a run that comes after previously failing to win a single game.
New signing Simon Terrode scored twice to leave Cologne four points behind Werder Bremen in 16th -- which carries a relegation play-off -- and eight points behind 15th-placed Mainz in safety.
"Hamburg kept us under pressure, but we managed to get the goals at the right time and defended well," said Terrode.
"It was an important win – the whole of Cologne will celebrate – but we have tough games to come."
Terrode, who joined from Stuttgart three weeks ago, is providing the goals his team badly needs, with three in only two games for Cologne, and at Hamburg he scored with both of his shots on goal.
After his first-half strike, Terrode sealed victory by cooly controlling Milos Jojic's pass and slotting home Cologne's second goal to delight away fans with 23 minutes left.
Cologne will have their survival aspirations tested by top-eight sides Augsburg, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt in the coming weeks.
Updated Date: Jan 21, 2018 11:02 AM