Kroos takes Leverkusen back to top of Bundesliga

Rising star Toni Kroos was both chief playmaker and goalscorer on Sunday in Leverkusen's 3-0 win over Hoffenheim that knocked his parent club Bayern Munich off the top of the table.

Kroos takes Leverkusen back to top of Bundesliga
Photo: DPA

Kroos is on loan at Leverkusen from Bayern and the midfielder demonstrated what his employers are missing by creating two goals and then scoring one of his own in the second-half – his fifth in the last four league games.

The Germany Under-21 star, who only turned 20 earlier this month, showcased the class that has led Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to insist he will be returning to Munich at the end of the season.

But Leverkusen boss Jupp Heynckes was unimpressed with his side’s first-half performance which saw Hoffenheim go close on several occasions.

“We were careless and negligent after we went 1-0 up,” said Heynckes, with his side still unbeaten this season. “I said at the break that we must take the initiative and in the second half we showed our class and showed why we are top of the league.”

After Bayern beat Werder Bremen 3-2 on Saturday to temporarily take over at the top of the table, Leverkusen’s win puts them back on top of the Bundesliga with a two-point advantage, while Bayern drop to second.

Leverkusen took the lead when Kroos curled in a free-kick from the flanks and defender Sami Hyypia slotted home from three-metres out past Hoffenheim goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand after 11 minutes.

Kroos then turned in a cross from Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok on 51 minutes before providing the final pass for Tranquillo Barnetta to slot home on 71 minutes and seal a win that leaves Hoffenheim ninth in the table.

Earlier, Bundesliga strugglers Cologne earned their second win in three games after inflicting a 3-2 defeat on defending champions Wolfsburg, who have now gone seven league games without a win.

With striker Lukas Podolski out with a back injury, Cologne showed they can do without their Germany star and managed to hold on at the Volkswagen Arena and claim their three points.

The defeat leaves Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh under immense pressure and it remains to be seen whether he will be in charge for their next game at Hamburg on Friday.

Cologne took the lead when midfielder Kevin Pezzoni slipped his marker after seven minutes to head home, but Wolfsburg fought back when Christian Gentner levelled after only 21 minutes.

Cologne striker Sebastian Freis then managed to hold off the challenge of two defenders and the goalkeeper to slot his shot into the back of the net on 57 minutes.

The home side responded immediately through Portugal defender Ricardo Costa, but Cologne were not to be denied only their fifth win of the season, and on 74 minutes Fries drilled his shot past Wolfsburg goalkeeper Andre Lenz.

The result leaves Wolfsburg 10th and Cologne 13th, but shouts of “Veh out!” will not have been ignored by the Wolves coach, who is now in danger of losing his job.

Meanwhile an injury-time goal from Slovakia striker Stanislav Sestak robbed Schalke of the chance to go top as the Royal Blues were held 2-2 by Bochum.

The result left Schalke third in the table and Borussia Dortmund up to fourth after a 1-0 win at home to Hamburg on Saturday evening.

Having picked up only their second win of the season last weekend, bottom side Hertha Berlin were held 0-0 at home by Borussia Mönchengladbach.

New Hannover boss Mirko Slomka got off to a losing start when his side were beaten 1-0 at mid-table Mainz – their eighth game without a win – which leaves them 16th.

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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