Leverkusen back on top after quick victory over Freiburg

Bayer Leverkusen took over for Bayern Munich as Bundesliga leaders for the second week running after blitzing Freiburg with three goals in four minutes on their way to a 3-1 win on Sunday night.

Leverkusen back on top after quick victory over Freiburg
Kiessling celebrates. Photo: DPA

Leverkusen remains the only side unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season and stunned Freiburg with first-half goals by Germany striker Steffan Kiessling, Swiss forward Eren Derdiyok and ex-Liverpool defender Sammi Hyypia.

Although Bayern picked up their seventh consecutive league win with a 3-0 victory over Mainz on Saturday, Leverkusen went back to the top and two-points clear after Sunday’s win.

“We changed our playing style going into this game and opted to take fewer risks,” said Bayer coach Jupp Heynckes. “We had difficulties in the game’s opening stages, but if we raise the pace of the game, goals tend to follow. Freiburg played quite defensively, but we showed our morale is high by breaking them down. We want to play in Europe – that has to be our aim.”

Germany squad member Kiessling remains the league’s top scorer after he bagged his 13th goal of the season on 36 minutes with a well-taken header.

Then Derdiyok capitalised on a mistake in the Freiburg defence just 60 seconds later for his eighth league goal of the season.

Hyypia ensured the win with his second goal in two games with a header past Freiburg goalkeeper Simon Pouplin five minutes before the half-time whistle.

Defender Felix Bastians pulled a consolation goal back for Freiburg, but the defeat leaves them 15th in the table, just one off the relegation zone.

In another game, Stuttgart coach Christian Gross picked up his fourth straight win and remains undefeated after seven games in charge as his side enjoyed a 4-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.

Goals by Russia forward Pavel Pogrebnyak and Serbian striker Zdravko Kuzmanovic put Stuttgart ahead before Romanian striker Ciprian Marica and Christian Traesch scored late goals to put the result beyond doubt.

The result means the home side has now claimed 12 points from their last four league games with Spanish giants Barcelona beckoning in the Champions League last 16 clash on February 23.

Schalke 04 is third after their 2-0 win over Hoffenheim on Saturday with goals by striker Kevin Kuranyi and midfielder Lukas Schmitz while the defeat leaves Hoffenheim ninth in the table.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben, Germany striker Mario Gomez and defender Daniel van Buyten all scored in Bayern’s win over Mainz in snowy conditions, leaving their team second at the end of the weekend.

Elsewhere, Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf is in a precarious position as his side has now gone seven German league games without a win after they went down 4-3 at midtable Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Second from bottom Nuremberg picked up only its second win in the last 10 games with a 3-1 at Hannover. The result leaves bottom side Hertha Berlin five points adrift after a scoreless draw with Bochum in the capital.

Cologne is up to 13th after its second consecutive win, having beaten Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1.

Meanwhile on Friday, defending champions Wolfsburg drew 1-1 draw at Hamburg.

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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