Julian Nagelsmann's German Red Bulls did their part to keep pace with German giants FC Bayern München in the 2020/21 league title race.
A 3-0 victory over SC Freiburg sees die roten Bullen temporarily rise to the top of the table.
All eyes now turn to "Der Klassiker" as a country anxiously awaits the Bayern response.
|Julian Nagelsmann.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/PICTURE POINT/Sven Sonntag/Pool via PICTURE POINT|
Less than three days removed from a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinals, Leipzig trainer Julian Nagelsmann made only two changes to his starting XI. Attackers Amadou Haidara and Alexander Sørloth came on to replace injured defender Willi Orban and winger Justin Kluivert.
The changes led to a back-three of Dayot Upamcano, Lukas Klostermann, and Nordi Mukiele being used; albeit an awkward one that certainly adversely affected RB's attacking rhythm. A wholly inaccurate Sørloth shot in the 15th minute constituted the first remotely legitimate chance of the game. Very little happened thereafter, with both sides equaling one another in the many midfield duels.
The visiting Saxons were finally able to string together consistent attacking waves around the 38th. The sustained pressure eventually paid off in the 41st when Freiburg keeper Florian Müller botched a forward pass for midfielder Baptiste Santamaria. Leipzig linchpin Kevin Kampl intervened to snatch up the ball and service Yussuf Poulsen, who in turn alertly slotted back to Christopher Nkunku for the opening goal.
Christian Streich's Breisgauer showed a slightly more adventurous spirit in the initial four minutes after the restart, but still weren't able to generate a truly threatening chance on goal. Another Freiburg error in the 64th enabled Leipzig two double their advantage. Kampl stripped Nicolas Höfler of the ball in a dangerous area.
This time, the Slovene serviced Nkunku. The Frenchman played around the SC keeper splendidly and served up Sørloth for the easy finish. Sørloth himself would supply substitute Emil Forsberg with a lovely assist on the third goal in the 79th to put matters beyond all doubt. Substitute Hee-Chan Hwang also missed a sitter from close range.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, Leverkusen emerged the winner in hard-fought battle between two slumping Nordrhein-westfalen clubs. A 77th-minute Patrik Schick tally lifted Peter Bosz's Werkself over Marco Rose's foals.
Hertha BSC came from behind against Augsburg to earn their first victory under recently re-installed trainer Pal Dardai. The capital city club prevailed against the Fuggerstädter 2-1 at the Olympiastadion.
Days after RB Leipzig became the first team to score against VfL Wolfsburg in nearly two months, Hoffenheim added two more in a 2-1 defeat of Oliver Glasner's German Wolves. Stuttgart and Frankfurt traded second-half goals to draw 1-1.