Kroos double shoots Leverkusen back to top spot

Teenager Toni Kroos scored twice on Saturday to fire Bayer Leverkusen back to the top of the Bundesliga as the home side came from behind to inflict a 3-2 defeat on Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Kroos double shoots Leverkusen back to top spot
Kroos (second from left) celebrates a goal. Photo: DPA

Kroos, who turns 20 on January 4, scored the first and last goals of the game as Leverkusen wrestled back control of the German league from Schalke, who had briefly taken over the lead on Friday night after their 1-0 win over Mainz.

“It was a completely justified win, but after we went 1-0 up, we then handed the match to our opponents,” said Kroos, who is on loan from Bayern Munich.

“But we turned things around and we fought our way back into the match. It was great to get the win.”

The 19-year-old opened the scoring on 18 minutes after a pass from ex-Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia but goals from Gladbach’s Roel Brouwers and Brazil defender Dante put the guests ahead.

Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok equalised on 60 minutes for the hosts before Kroos scored his second after Germany striker Steffan Kiessling found him on the edge of the penalty area.

The teenager drilled home the winner on 69 minutes to leave his side on top going into the winter break.

Bayern Munich stay third and were ruthless against bottom side Hertha Berlin in a 5-2 rout at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

Bayern’s Belgium defender Daniel van Buyten produced a pin-point accurate header on 16 minutes before Mario Gomez bagged his sixth goal in seven games when he converted a pass from Germany team-mate Philipp Lahm on 31 minutes.

Gomez then turned provider when he set up Dutch star Arjen Robben on 33 minutes before rising star Thomas Müller gave Berlin goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny no chance to make it 4-0 on 60 minutes.

Hertha’s Adrian Ramos and Raffael scored consolation goals on 71 and 90 minutes and Bayern’s Ivica Olic hit his side’s fifth on 77 minutes.

But Berlin are still relegation candidates as they finish the first half of the season with just six points and are six points adrift at the foot of the table.

Dortmund went fourth after they celebrated their 100th anniversary as a club with a 1-0 win at home over Freiburg.

The hosts took the lead when Argentina striker Lucas Barrios scored his ninth goal in ten games when he headed past Freiburg’s French goalkeeper Simon Pouplin on 19 minutes.

Defending champions Wolfsburg were held to a 2-2 draw by Eintracht Frankfurt to move eighth in the table, while Bochum pulled away from the relegation zone with a 3-2 win thanks to a late free-kick from defender Christian Fuchs.

On Friday, a first-half goal from Peruvian star Jefferson Farfan had put Schalke top after a 1-0 win over Mainz.

Farfan notched his sixth goal of the campaign after taking a neat pass from German under-21 international Lewis Holtby, but Leverkusen took back the lead less than 24 hours later.

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Chemical reaction likely to blame for deadly blast at German plant

An explosion that killed seven people at a hazardous waste site in Germany in July was likely caused by a chemical reaction inside a waste storage tank, local authorities said Monday, citing an interim report.

Chemical reaction likely to blame for deadly blast at German plant
The site of the Chempark explosion on July 27th. Photo: dpa | Oliver Berg

The July 27 blast at the Chempark chemical complex in the western city of Leverkusen, which also injured 31 workers, was heard several kilometres away and rattled the windows of nearby homes.

It sent up a large cloud of black smoke that prompted authorities to urge locals to stay indoors, although later examinations showed no danger to residents’ health.

The interim findings, announced by the Cologne district government, suggest that a chemical reaction “probably” caused waste liquid in storage tank 3 to self-heat and rapidly become warmer, leading to a build-up of pressure it was unable to withstand.

“The whole process happened so quickly that the safety mechanisms were no longer able to dissipate the pressure. When the pressure exceeded the design pressure of the container, it exploded,” the interim report is quoted as saying.

The explosion then triggered a large blaze at the park’s waste storage and incineration site that took firefighters hours to put out.

Chempark operator Currenta said in a statement that the early findings match its own investigations.

The Cologne district government said it was awaiting further expert analysis before final conclusions could be made about the cause of the blast.

Prosecutors in Cologne have opened an investigation against unknown persons on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and causing an explosion through negligence.

All those killed and injured in the explosion worked at the chemical site.

The blast area, in Leverkusen’s Buerrig district, was separate from Chempark’s main industrial park that houses numerous companies including Bayer, Lanxess and Evonik Industries.

READ MORE: Death toll in German chemical blast climbs to six