LEIPZIG: A second-half equalizer from defender Marcel Halstenberg helped RB Leipzig hold Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw at home on Friday in the first Bundesliga match since the winter break.
Bayern were on course for their seventh straight Bundesliga win after striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting scored in the 37th minute, but Halstenberg equalized in the 52nd.
Veteran Bayern striker Thomas Mueller had a chance to win the game in injury time with a shot from close range, but trailed his effort just wide.
A combination of rust after a ten-week break and sub-zero temperatures meant both sides struggled to find the rhythm early on.
World Cup star centre-back Josko Gvardiol nearly scored an own goal after seven minutes when his attempt to smother a Serge Gnabry cross hit the post.
Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka headed the ball into the net after 31 minutes but the goal was ruled out due to a narrow offside against Munich centre-back Matthijs de Ligt in the build-up.
The defending champions came on the board soon after through Cameroon striker Choupo-Moting, who tapped a Gnabry cross past the outstretched arm of Leipzig keeper Janis Blaswich to score his 11th goal in ten games all competitions combined.
Leipzig shook off the cobwebs to regain parity shortly after half-time when Halstenberg took in a header from Dominik Szoboszlai to score his first goal of the season.
The goal sparked the most dominant period of the game for Leipzig, with the home side frequently threatening Bayern on the counter as the visitors pushed to regain the lead.
Bayern were lucky not to be reduced to ten men in the 66th minute when French defender Dayot Upamecano brought down a raging Szoboszlai who was on goal with only goalkeeper Yann Sommer to beat.
Upamecano, one of four former Leipzig players in Bayern’s squad with manager Julian Nagelsmann, was shown a yellow card.
Leipzig will likely be the happier of the two teams with the result, but Bayern will still finish the round as table leaders regardless of other results.
The Red Bull-owned side have now managed to beat the Bavarians just once in 16 competitive appearances since their promotion to the Bundesliga in the 2016-17 season.
With less than half of the season’s matches played, Leipzig are six points behind Bayern in third place.
Second-placed Freiburg have a chance to close the gap at the top to two points when they travel to Wolfsburg on Saturday.

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