Football

Hasenhuettl: We can handle setback

Bayern regain top spot after Leipzig are stunned by strugglers Ingolstadt

Ralph Hasenhuettl insists his young RB Leipzig team can handle setbacks in the Bundesliga title race as yesterday's shock defeat at strugglers Ingolstadt let Bayern Munich regain top spot.

Leipzig, who have an average age of 23, had kept star-studded Bayern off the top of the German league table for three weeks, setting a new record of 13 games unbeaten for a team in their first Bundesliga season.

But the shock 1-0 defeat at Ingolstadt, who had been bottom before kick-off, allowed Bayern to erase the three-point gap with a 5-0 win at home to Wolfsburg and go top of the table on goal difference.

Hasenhuettl, 49, who has been tipped as a possible replacement for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, endured a horror return to Ingolstadt, who he left in May.

Brazilian defender Roger scored Ingolstadt's first-half winner with a header from a set-piece.

"We didn't play well in the first half. Defeats always hurt, it doesn't matter against who," said Hasenhuettl, whose side battered the Ingolstadt goal with 13 shots, to the hosts' four, but could not score.

"We allowed the opponent to force their own game on us, we had little influence and didn't show enough courage.

"We were better after the break, but we couldn't make our 300 percent (more shots) count. The ball didn't want to go in.

"This is a setback, but we can handle it."

This was only Ingolstadt's second win of the season.

The Bavarian strugglers had Australia striker Mathew Leckie sent off on 94 minutes for two yellow cards in quick succession, but his team held on and the win took them off the bottom, leaving Darmstadt, who lost 1-0 at Freiburg, last.

"The team did exceptionally well, they followed the plan exceptionally well," said coach Maik Walpurgis, who used his replacement goalkeeper for the last 30 minutes after an injury to Danish shot-stopper Martin Hansen.

"We had two good goalkeepers and certainly the necessary luck in the second half."

Both Bayern and Leipzig have 33 points with Germany's top two clubs set to meet in Munich on Dec 21 in a pre-Christmas showdown.

The German champions hammered strugglers Wolfsburg yesterday with Robert Lewandowski netting twice and Thomas Mueller ending his goal drought in the Bundesliga, having gone 999 minutes without scoring. - AFP

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