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RB Leipzig 2-2 Hertha Berlin: Krzysztof Piatek’s late penalty denies Leipzig

Marko Grujic (number 15) is in his second season-long loan spell at Hertha Berlin from Liverpool and scored the first goal of the match

RB Leipzig missed a chance to go second in the Bundesliga as they conceded late on to draw at home with Hertha Berlin.

The visitors opened the scoring when Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic volleyed in from Marvin Plattenhardt’s corner.

Leipzig equalised through Lukas Klostermann’s glancing header after a corner but then went down to 10 men when Marcel Halstenberg was dismissed.

Patrik Schick put Leipzig ahead but Hertha made it 2-2 through Krzysztof Piatek’s 82nd-minute penalty.

The spot-kick was awarded when former Everton forward Ademola Lookman fouled Matheus Cunha and Piatek calmly finished to deny Leipzig the three points.

Leipzig needed to win to go above Borussia Dortmund on goal difference, but the draw means Leipzig are two points behind Dortmund and nine adrift of leaders Bayern Munich.

The result also all but ends Leipzig’s slim hopes of becoming German champions in only their 11th season in existence.

Ten-man Leipzig fail to hold on

In a game played in an empty stadium because of the coronavirus restrictions, Leipzig suffered a blow in the build-up as Slovenia midfielder Kevin Kampl picked up an injury, although the hosts did have the first chance with Konrad Laimer’s low strike saved by Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.

The visitors took the lead in the ninth minute when Grujic flicked into the net from just outside the six-yard box from a corner from Plattenhardt, who had to be substituted three minutes later following a clash of heads before the goal.

However, Hertha’s lead only lasted 15 minutes as Klostermann met Christopher Nkuku’s right-wing corner at the near post and headed into the net.

RB Leipzig were behind for 15 minutes in the first half before centre-half Lukas Klostermann equalised with a glancing header

Just after the hour mark, Halstenberg picked up his second booking, although 10-man Leipzig took the lead for the first time five minutes later when Schick’s 20-yard strike was fumbled into his own net by Jarstein.

However, the home side could not hold on to their lead as Piatek’s penalty ensured a point apiece.

Leipzig, who are also in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 4-0 win on aggregate over Tottenham in the last 16, have finished in the top six of the Bundesliga in each of the past three years.

They still have a chance of matching their highest ever finish of second in 2016-17 when their side, coached by now Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, finished 15 points behind champions Bayern.

On Tuesday, Bayern moved closer to an eighth successive Bundesliga title as they won 1-0 at Dortmund.

After that match, Dortmund boss Lucien Favre said it would be “brutally difficult” for anyone to stop Bayern becoming German champions for a 30th time.

What’s next?

Hertha Berlin, who move up to 10th in the Bundesliga, play at home against Augsburg on Saturday, before RB Leipzig play away at Cologne on Monday.