Sweet-toothed striker Timo Werner on Sunday bagged a hat-trick as RB Leipzig thrashed FSV Mainz 05 to climb back to third place in the Bundesliga and keep their dwindling title hopes just about alive.
When asked how he would celebrate the 5-0 win, Werner, 24, told reporters: “There will definitely be some sweets involved.”
Julian Nagelsmann’s side sit seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich ahead of the reigning champions’ top-of-the-table clash against second-placed Borussia Dortmund today.
Leipzig bounced back from their draw with SC Freiburg the previous weekend in their first match since the COVID-19 lockdown in style, with Werner moving to within three goals of Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski at the top of the Bundesliga scoring chart.
Werner, who has been linked with several of Europe’s biggest clubs, has scored 24 league goals this season, including two hat-tricks.
Lewandowski on Saturday scored his 27th league goal this season in Bayern’s 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Leipzig’s victory was the 10th win for a visiting team in 18 matches since the Bundesliga restarted in near-empty stadiums.
“We could have scored a few more, but no complaints — we’re very happy,” Leipzig sporting director Markus Kroesche told Sky.
Werner opened the scoring in the 11th minute, before Yussuf Poulsen marked his 250th appearance for Leipzig by heading home a Marcel Sabitzer cross on 23 minutes.
The pair reversed roles for the third when Poulsen laid the ball off for Sabitzer to make it 3-0 before halftime.
Werner grabbed his second goal three minutes into the second half when Kevin Kampl played him into the penalty area.
The visitors were attacking at will when Kampl had a goal ruled out for offside soon afterward.
With 15 minutes left, Poulsen’s floated free-kick was met by Werner, who volleyed past Mainz goalkeeper Florian Mueller to wrap up his hat-trick.
Earlier, Augsburg also eased to a comfortable away win with a 3-0 romp at Schalke 04.
Heiko Herrlich enjoyed a perfect first Bundesliga game on the touchline as Augsburg coach, a week after he missed their loss to VfL Wolfsburg because he broke quarantine rules to buy toothpaste.
David Wagner’s Schalke continued their slide down the table, falling to eighth following another poor defensive display.
Eduard Loewen, Noah Sarenren Bazee and Sergio Cordova scored as Augsburg moved seven points clear of the relegation playoff place.
“I’m totally happy,” said Herrlich, whose side host bottom club SC Paderborn tomorrow after ending a run of four straight defeats.
“We’ll be celebrating quietly, because we don’t have much time, but we have managed to turn things around,” he said.
The 48-year-old Herrlich apologized to his squad after breaking a week-long quarantine by leaving the team hotel — to buy toothpaste and skin cream — before the Wolfsburg match the previous weekend.
Having been as high as third in December last year, Schalke are winless in their past nine league games, including a 4-0 drubbing at Dortmund the previous weekend.
“We were extremely stupid at the start,” Wagner said.
Loewen gave the visitors the lead at the Veltins Arena after just five minutes with a superb long-range free-kick which flew into the top corner.
Augsburg doubled their lead 14 minutes from time when Schalke defender Salif Sane was wrong-footed by a long ball and substitute Bazee rifled home.
Cordova came off the bench to score in stoppage-time, latching onto a loose pass from Sane, rounding goalkeeper Markus Schubert and firing into an empty net.
In Sunday’s late game, Cologne scored late goals through strikers Anthony Modeste and Jhon Cordoba, who equalized in stoppage-time, to fight back for a 2-2 draw against strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf.
Visitors Fortuna, who are 16th in the relegation playoff place, had led with an hour gone through goals by Kenan Karaman and Erik Thommy.
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