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Hoffenheim check Bayern march with draw

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann has finally returned to former club Hoffenheim in front of Bundesliga fans but he left frustrated as his champions were held to a 1-1 draw.

Robert Lewandowski’s 29th goal of the season on the stroke of halftime rescued a point for Bayern, who had trailed to Christoph Baumgartner’s opener, but they will wonder just how they didn’t win Saturday’s match.

Thomas Muller, twice, and Lewandowski netted only to be denied by offside flags, Serge Gnabry hit the post and Muller had a goal-bound shot blocked on the line amid intense pressure.

Hoffenheim also had their moments, though, and only a fine save from Manuel Neuer denied Andrej Kramaric on the day the Croatia striker agreed a new three-year deal.

Bayern still top the table by 10 points but have now played two games more than Borussia Dortmund, who welcome Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.

Nagelsmann left Hoffenheim for Leipzig in 2019 but his previous visits back to his old ground were won behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This time 25,000 welcomed him back and the majority were cheering when Baumgartner wrong-footed Neuer at the back post to cap a 32nd minute counter-attack.

Muller’s disallowed goals were either side of this but Lewandowski headed in a corner in first-half injury time to level.

It was his 17th away goal in the Bundesliga season, equalling the record of Jupp Heynckes in 1973-74 and Timo Werner in 2019-20.

Elsewhere, Freiburg defeated Wolfsburg 3-2 to go fourth and Union Berlin were held 1-1 by struggling VfB Stuttgart.

Hoffenheim trail Freiburg on goal difference as Nico Schlotterbeck’s late drive from distance salvaged victory for Christian Streich’s side after Wolfsburg fought back from two goals down.

Stuttgart also struck late as Sasa Kalajdzic’s last-gasp equaliser lifted them out of the bottom two and into the playoff place on goal difference above Hertha Berlin, who lost 2-0 at Borussia Monchengladbach in the day’s late game.

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