BERLIN: Timo Werner bagged a hat trick as RB Leipzig routed Mainz 5-0 behind closed doors on Sunday to climb to third in the German league table as the striker moved to within three goals of the Bundesliga’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski.
It was the 24-year-old’s third Bundesliga hat trick having also netted three times when Leipzig romped to an 8-0 home win against Mainz last November.
Werner’s treble leaves him on 24 goals, while Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski claimed his 27th Bundesliga goal this season in the league leader’s 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Leipzig’s victory was the 10th win for the visiting team in 17 matches since the Bundesliga restarted last weekend.
Werner opened the scoring in Mainz after 11 minutes when he converted a low cross.
Yussuf Poulsen then 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 a pass off to Sabitzer who showed great finishing to make it 3-0 at the break.
Werner grabbed his second goal three minutes into the second half when Kevin Kampl played him into the area.
The visitors were attacking at will when Kampl had a goal ruled out for offside soon after.
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.
The win leaves Leipzig third and seven points behind leaders Bayern.
Augsburg also enjoyed an away win with a 3-0 romp at Schalke.
Heiko Herrlich enjoyed a perfect first Bundesliga game on the touchline as Augsburg coach, a week after he missed the loss to 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 team host the league’s bottom side Paderborn on Wednesday.
“We’ll be celebrating quietly, because we don’t have much time.
“But we have managed to turn things around,” he added after Augsburg ended a run of four straight defeats.
The 48-year-old Herrlich apologized to his squad after breaking a week-long coronavirus quarantine by leaving the team hotel — to buy toothpaste and skin cream — before the Wolfsburg match last weekend.
With Herrlich back in charge, Augsburg enjoyed their first win in seven league games.
Having been as high as third last December, Schalke are winless in their last nine league games, including last Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing at Borussia Dortmund.
“We were extremely stupid at the start,” fumed Schalke coach David Wagner.
Loewen gave the visitors the lead after just five minutes with a superb free kick which flew into the top corner from 30 meters out at a near-empty Veltins Arena.
Augsburg doubled their lead 14 minutes from time when Schalke defender Salif Sane was wrong-footed by a long ball and substitute winger Bazee rifled home.
Cordova came off the bench to score in injury time, latching onto a loose pass from Sane, rounding goalkeeper Markus Schubert and firing into an empty net.
Augsburg host Paderborn on Wednesday, the same day Schalke visit strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation playoff spot in 16th.