Germany: Bundesliga
0 - 2
(0 - 0)
RB Leipzig
J. Serra (57), F. Klos (70), M. Okugawa (75)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15.30 Kickoffs: Ten-man Bielefeld stun Leipzig, Akpoguma robs Gladbach of points

With fewer goals but plenty of drama, ten Bundesliga clubs wrapped up their first half of the season in Saturday's set of five simultaneous kickoffs.

Arminia Bielefeld remain in automatic relegation territory at the conclusion of the 2021/22 Hin-Runde, but shocked everyone by blanking heavy favored Leipzig. 

Winners Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Union concluded their 2021 football on a positive note, while Borussia Mönchengladbach had to settle for a draw with Hoffenheim.

Augsburg and SpVgg Greuther Fürth also finished their calendar year with a points-sharing contest. 
A highly touted upset came to pass on Saturday afternoon at the Red Bull Arena. Without their first choice keeper, one of their crucial midfielders, club legend Fabian Klos in the starting XI, and even an 11th player on the pitch for the final twenty minutes, Arminia Bielefeld captured their third win of the season with a shock 2-0 win over RB Leipzig. A "new look" Bielefeld consisting mostly of offseason acquisitions got it done.

Injuries forced new RB head-coach Domenico Tedesco into a pair of personnel changes. Both Konrad Laimer and Mohamed Simikan--subbed off at the half in the midweek draw away at Augsburg--couldn't make it back in time. Dominik Szoboszlai and Nordi Mukiele served as replacements and the German Red Bulls reformatted in what looked like a 3-5-2. Szoboszlai and Emil Forsberg slotted in behind a two-striker set of André Silva and Christopher Nkunku.

Bielefeld had their own personnel worries entering the encounter. These were quite unforeseen. Keeper Stefan Ortega Moreno and midfielder Manuel Prietl tested positive for COVID and immediately had to report to quarantine. Former SV Werder Bremen keeper Stefanos Kampino thus had to make his competitive debut for the DSC. Sebastian Vasiliadis, another offseason acquisition, slotted in for Prietl. Frank Kramer's men lined up in what appeared to be a 4-2-3-1.

The underdogs ensured that the game got off to a physical start. There were several treatment breaks after intense midfield duels in the opening minutes. Leipzig nevertheless found themselves having to deal with a hard luck injury early on. Swedish attacker Emil Forsberg strained a thigh muscle on a no-contact play. American Tyler Adams had to replace the more attack-minded Forsberg in the 7th. This necessitated a 3-4-3 reformat and the Saxon hosts had difficulty generating chances removed from their match-plan.

Leipzig had little to offer in terms of incursions until Nkunku broke through in the 26th. DSC left-back Andres Andrade had to stop the clear scoring chance with a tactical foul and was duly booked. Apart from that, Tedesco's XI really had almost nothing to offer despite upwards of 75 percent possession. Kramer's Bielefeld stood compact in the box, but the home side demonstrated neither coordinated play nor much creativity. The match went into the break goalless, deservedly so.

The same basic story continued after the break. Leipzig controlled the builds and dominated possession, yet found themselves continually stymied by crowded zonal marking in the box that allowed them no way through. Three more of Bielefeld's offseason acquisitions then combined in the 57th to give the visiting East Westphalians the lead.

Janni Serra (brought in from Kiel) played Florian Krüger in on the left. The former Schalke and Erzgebirge Aue winger then crossed in for his flanking counterpart, Patrick Wimmer. The 20-year-old brought in from Vienna got off a quick effort that Leipzig's Peter Gulacsi couldn't hold. Serra was then there to finish off the rebound. With the club's new arrivals having secured an unexpected lead, Kramer then turned to the past by subbing on Fabian Klos and Fabian Kunze in the 58th for the close out.

Arminia legend Klos had actually been dropped to the bench for the last two matches. Within ten minutes of his introduction, the 34-year-old was sent off on a straight red for a tackle on Willi Orban. Match official Frank Willenborg cancelled his initial yellow after a VAR review and the guests (somewhat harshly) found themselves reduced to ten men. Tedesco's RB, who had hitherto really had no idea how to break down the DSC defense, did get a pair of chances off. Kapino was there to stop.

It would get worse for the hosts, however, when Krüger intercepted a very poor midfield pass from Amadou Haidara and sent Masaya Okugawa through on a clear attacking lane in the 75th. Some five minutes after Willenborg confirmed Klos' ejection, Bielefeld had made it 2-0 despite being a man down. Kramer took no chances thereafter and a visibly shaken Leipzig produced nothing in response in the final 15 minutes. The fixture finished with that scoreline.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, another goal from the surging Jesper Lindstrøm proved the difference as Frankfurt held off Mainz 1-0 at Deutsche Bank Park. Oliver Glasner's SGE finished off the calendar year with three wins on the spin and move up to 5th place in the table. Right behind them, Urs Fischer's Union Berlin finish His-runde in 6th place, tied with Frankfurt on points but behind by one tally in goal differential. Newlywed Max Kruse scored the winner in a hard fought 1-0 win over Bochum.

Struggling Gladbach thought that they had themselves back on a good course with three points in the bag in a visit to Sinsheim. Adi Hütter's foals carried their own 1-0 advantage heading into injury time against Hoffenheim at the PreZero Arena. TSG fullback Kevin Akpoguma--in his farewell match before heading down south to represent Nigeria in the Africa cup up Nations--drew his club level with the 1-1 equalizer at 90+1. Augsburg and SpVgg Greuther Fürth also drew 0-0. Woeful Fürth at least earned points for only the third time this season.

With five points, Fürth conclude the first half of the season 13 points from relegation safety.

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