Nervy Leipzig go top, Klinsmann loses at new club Hertha

Ryland JAMES

Berlin (AFP) - RB Leipzig returned to the top of the Bundesliga Saturday with a nervous 3-2 win at bottom side Paderborn, but both Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach could yet replace them in first place this weekend.

Leipzig regained top spot for the first time since September by winning at Paderborn, capping a fine week for the club after reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in midweek.

Defending champions Bayern can draw level on 27 points by beating Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena later Saturday.

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Moenchengladbach, who Leipzig knocked down into second, can reclaim top spot if they beat Freiburg on Sunday.

In the capital, ex-Germany and USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann started his tenure as Hertha Berlin's interim boss with a 2-1 home defeat to 10-man Borussia Dortmund at the Olympic Stadium, packed with 74,667 supporters.

In Paderborn, Leipzig were 2-0 up inside four minutes with early goals by Patrik Schick and Marcel Sabitzer before Germany striker Timo Werner made it 3-0 at half-time with his 13th league goal this season.

However, it was a completely different story after the break as Paderborn, who earned a 3-3 draw at Dortmund last weekend, roared back.

Having had a goal ruled offside just after the break, striker Streli Mamba, who scored twice at Dortmund, tucked his shot inside the post with an hour gone.

Paderborn captain Klaus Gjasula then scored their second with 17 minutes left after being left unmarked in the middle, but Leipzig clung on leaving their fans chanting "Table Leaders!" after the final whistle.

"We made it more tense than necessary," admitted Leipzig sports director Markus Kroesche.

"That's a bit normal after the stress of the last few weeks," he added as Leipzig needed two late Emil Forsberg goals to draw with Benfica on Wednesday.

- Hummels sees red -

Dortmund beat Klinsmann's new club despite playing the entire second-half with ten men, easing pressure on coach Lucien Favre.

Dortmund are fifth -- four points behind Leipzig.

"We gave everything. It wasn't easy to defend in the second half with ten men," said Favre, while club captain Marco Reus described the second-half as "just a matter of suffering and battling".

Jadon Sancho backed up his superb Champions League strike at Barcelona in midweek with a fine finish after 15 minutes.

With Klinsmann urging his shell-shocked team to stay calm, Thorgan Hazard made it 2-0 a minute later by stabbing home a Achraf Hakimi cross.

Vladimir Darida pulled a goal back for Hertha on 34 minutes and Dortmund were down to 10 men just before half-time when Mats Hummels clumsily fouled Davie Selke - his second booking on the same player.

Selke then had a second-half goal ruled offside and Dortmund hung on.

"We deserved more," Klinsmann insisted as Hertha dropped into the relegation places. "We didn't push hard enough."

There was eight cards in the first-half -- equalling the league record -- as Cologne drew 1-1 at home to Augsburg and both teams were reduced to ten men in the first 45 minutes.

Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn saved a penalty attempt by Andre Hahn after only nine minutes, then the hosts had defender Rafael Czichos sent off on 39 minutes for a second yellow.

Augsburg striker Florian Niederlechner put his side 1-0 up on 43 minutes, just before Hahn was sent off within a minute for a second bookable offence.

Cologne finally poached a point when substitute striker Jhon Cordoba equalised four minutes from time.

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