VAR denies Leipzig bid to cut Bayern’s lead to 2 points


BERLIN — Leipzig had an injury-time winner ruled out through VAR and had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Friday.

It was potentially a title-deciding decision.

A win for Leipzig would have cut Bayern Munich’s lead to two points ahead of its tough game at third-place Wolfsburg on Saturday. Defending champions Bayern now have the chance to pull seven points clear with five rounds remaining after this weekend.

Substitute Yussuf Poulsen thought he had scored in the 96th minute after heading in Marcel Halstenberg’s corner, but referee Manuel Gräfe reviewed video replays and determined that the ball struck Poulsen’s hand.

It was Hoffenheim’s second consecutive scoreless draw after another uninspiring game against Bayer Leverkusen on Monday, but it was enough to lift the visitors to 11th on goal difference ahead of the rest of the 29th round.

Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann, who is still just 33, was up against his former side in Hoffenheim, which he led to third place and Champions League qualification in 2018.

Both Nagelsmann and Hoffenheim counterpart Sebastian Hoeneß reacted at the break after a muted first half.

Nagelsmann brought on Kevin Kampl and Amadou Haidara for the ineffective Angeliño and Nordi Mukiele, while Hoeneß sent on Ihlas Bebou for Georginio Rutter.

Hoeneß was forced into another change early in the second half when Mijat Gacinovic replaced the injured Florian Grillitsch.

Christopher Nkunku had the game’s first real chance before the hour-mark when he forced a save from Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, a minute before Tyler Adams missed another good chance for Leipzig.

Alexander Sörloth, another substitute, should have done better when he fired over from a promising position, while Bebou missed the visitors’ best chance in the 75th.

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