Wolfsburg thrash Cologne as Frauen Bundesliga bucks trend with restart | Football

The Frauen Bundesliga, the top tier of women’s football in Germany, resumed on Friday after a two-month shutdown. League leaders Wolfsburg picked up where they left off, routing Cologne 4-0 to maintain their unbeaten season.

Pernille Harder opened the scoring from the penalty spot, before forward Svenja Huth doubled the lead just before half-time. The visitors kept the three-time defending league champions in reach, but Alexandra Popp made sure of victory with 66 minutes played.

Republic of Ireland international forward Amber Barrett was sent off for Cologne four minutes later. Harder then added her second of the match on 78 minutes. Wolfsburg’s win moved them 11 points clear of Bayern Munich at the top.

Bayern will host third-placed Hoffenheim on Saturday, although the visiting coach will not be present. Jürgen Ehrmann works as a teacher away from football, and is unable to take time off for the game. In Friday’s other match, FFC Frankfurt beat Sand 3-1 to go fourth in the table.

The return of the German top-flight marks a different approach to other major European leagues. The top women’s divisions in England, France and Spain have already been cancelled. The highest US league, the NWSL, will not resume until late June.

In the men’s Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen climbed to third in the table after Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game at Freiburg. The highly-rated forward combined brilliantly with Leon Bailey before finishing from a narrow angle after 54 minutes.

It was a rare moment of quality that settled a game of few chances. A much-changed Leverkusen side dominated possession but struggled to break down the hosts before Havertz struck. Freiburg’s best chance fell to Lucas Höler just before half-time, but the forward dragged his shot wide of the far post.

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