Leipzig, Jan 14 (IANS) Fifth-placed RB Leipzig returned to winning ways beating second-placed Schalke 3-1 at home as they moved to the second spot in the Bundesliga football championship.
Leipzig on Saturday staged a powerful closing period and sealed the deal with two goals within two minutes from Timo Werner and Bruma while Schalke were unable to maintain their 13-game unbeaten run, reports Xinhua news agency.
The spectators had to wait for the action on the pitch as both sides were focussed on a well-positioned defence. Hence, goal-scoring opportunities were a rare occurrence in the opening period.
Schalke worked out the first chances through Alessandro Schoepf and Guido Burgstaller but Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi defused Schalke’s efforts on target.
However, as the match progressed, Leipzig piled on the pressure. Marcel Sabitzer tested goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann before Schalke’s Benjamin Stambouli felled Jean-Kevin Augustin inside the box to cause a penalty.
Augustin stepped up but failed to convert the penalty as Faehrmann saved the weak attempt from the spot with 37 minutes into the game.
The hosts marked the opener nonetheless before the break as Naby Keita’s deflected shot from 20 metres broke the deadlock with 41 minutes played.
Leipzig came out on the front foot after the restart but it were the visitors, who restored parity when Naldo headed home a free kick from close range in the 55th minute.
It was a short-lived joy for the visitors from North Rhine-Westphalia though as Werner benefitted on Konrad Laimer’s assist to grab the 2-1 lead in the 69th minute.
Things went from bad to worse for Schalke as Burma added another goal two minutes later to put the 3-1 victory beyond doubt.
With the result, Leipzig leapfrogged Schalke into the second place whereas the “Royal Blues” slipped to the third place.
Elsewhere, Werder Bremen held Hoffenheim to a 1-1 draw owing to the late equaliser from Theodor Gebre Selassie.
Harmless Hamburg suffered their third straight loss as Augsburg’s Ja-Cheol Koo scored the only goal of the match.
Frankfurt and Freiburg shared the spoils after Robin Koch’s second half leveller cancelled out Sebastien Haller’s opener for the “Eagles”.
Newly promoted Hannover rallied back from two goals to down Mainz 3-2 by courtesy on Niclas Fuellkrug’s hat-trick.
VfB Stuttgart grabbed the first three points of 2018 on the own-goal from Hertha Berlin’s Niklas Stark.