Leipzig draw leaves Bayern eight-points clear

Ryland JAMES
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Schalke's defender Benedikt Hoewedes and Leipzig's midfielder Oliver Burke fight for the ball on April 23, 2017

RB Leipzig wasted their chance to slash Bayern Munich's runaway lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Schalke.

Carlo Ancelotti's Bayern are eight points clear despite having been held to a 2-2 draw at home to Mainz after Timo Werner's first-half goal for second-placed Leipzig was cancelled out by Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

"I asked myself before the game where Bayern can be expected to lose three games," said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl with Bayern set for a fifth straight league title, given their substantial lead, with four games left.

"The time when we looked at what they are doing is long gone. We are focused on defending second place."

Werner, the top German scorer in the Bundesliga with 17 goals so far, gave Leipzig a superb lead when he outleapt Schalke's captain and World Cup winner Benedikt Hoewedes for a deft header on 14 minutes to put RB 1-0 up.

Leipzig should have gone further ahead when playmaker Emil Forsberg fired wide soon after.

Schalke flew out of the gates in the second half in Gelsenkirchen and Huntelaar's diving header was a just reward as the Dutch striker claimed his first Bundesliga goal since September just after the break.

"We were really strong in the first half -- we started like the place was on fire," quipped Hasenhuettl.

"Emil could have settled the game and things weren't as we wanted them to be after the break, but Timo Werner put in an impressive display."

The draw keeps Leipzig six points clear of third-placed Borussia Dortmund and Schalke are 11th with four games left.

- Dream run -

Earlier, unfancied Freiburg continued their dream run to a place in Europe next season with a shock 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

The result puts Freiburg, last season's second division champions, back up into sixth place, which carries a Europa League berth next season.

Christian Streich's youthful team claimed another big scalp after recent wins over Cologne, Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg.

Ex-Bayern Munich striker Nils Petersen gave hosts Freiburg the lead at their Schwarzwald Stadion before Germany forward Kevin Volland converted a second-penalty for Leverkusen.

But the hosts picked up the three points when winger Pascal Stenzel, on loan from Borussia Dortmund, came off the bench to finish a counter-attack.

The 21-year-old hit the winner when he drilled the ball past Leverkusen's Germany goalkeeper Bernd Leno two minutes from time after a brilliant run down the left wing.

It was another disappointing result for Leverkusen, who reached the Champions League last 16 this season, but have won just one of their last ten games and are 12th -- only four points from the bottom three.

On Saturday, Thiago Alcantara's second-half equaliser rescued Bayern in their 2-2 draw at home to Mainz as the league leaders had to twice come from behind.

Having bowed out of the Champions League quarter-finals at Real Madrid in midweek, the draw caps a week to forget for Bayern, who are winless in their last four games.