Marcel Sabitzer scored a 25-yard rocket as RB Leipzig beat Hertha Berlin to reduce Bayern Munich’s lead to only two points.
Leipzig had the chance to take the lead with only five minutes on the clock as Hee-Chan Hwang, making his first Bundesliga start, was played through. With no offside flag coming, the South Korean only had Rune Jarstein to beat, but the Hertha goalkeeper was out and down in a flash to prevent an opener. The next chances fell to the Berliners as Krzysztof Piatek came within inches of getting on the end of Maximilian Mittelstädt’s cross. Former RB forward Matheus Cunha then found the gloves of Peter Gulacsi via a deflected effort before some superb defending from Lukas Klostermann, running towards his own goal, intercepted a low ball destined for the feet of Dodi Lukebakio inside the six-yard box. It took something spectacular for second-placed Leipzig to break the deadlock, and it came through captain Sabitzer’s stunning effort from 25 yards, dipping and swerving past a stunned Jarstein.
In an almost perfect reflection of the first half, Hertha came close to striking in the first few minutes as Cunha ran onto Lucas Tousart’s ball in behind, but he too was denied one-on-one with Gulacsi. Sabitzer later tried to repeat his earlier feat from a few yards closer, but slightly scuffed his effort into the hands of Jarstein. The game was then settled when American Tyler Adams dispossessed substitute Matteo Guendouzi inside the Berlin box before Mukiele riffled home an unstoppable shot past Jarstein. The icing on the cake came when Willi Orban headed home Sabitzer's cross from a short corner to make it three on the day. The result sees Leipzig cut the gap to leaders Bayern to only two points after their defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Hertha remain in 15th place but only outside of the relegation play-off spot on goal difference ahead of Arminia Bielefeld, who have a game in hand. They are only one point clear of resurgent Mainz in the automatic drop zone.
- Leipzig have now gone six games in all competitions without conceding in the first half.
- Sabitzer’s goal was his fifth of the league season and his first from outside the box. The Austrian has now scored three goals in the last four games against Hertha.
- Mukiele got his third goal of the season, all of which have come in 2021 and away from home.
- Orban scored his fourth of the campaign to equal his personal best from 2018/19. Eleven of his 15 Bundesliga goals have been headers.
- The Berliners have lost all five home games against Leipzig in the Bundesliga, with the visitors scoring at least three goals each time.
- Hertha are winless in eight (D5, L3), which is the longest such current run in the Bundesliga. They are yet to earn three points under Pal Dardai.
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Hertha: Jarstein - Klünter, Stark (c), M. Dardai, Mittelstädt – Khedira (Guendouzi 68’), Tousart - Lukebakio (Radonjic 60’), Cunha, Leckie (Netz 60’) - Piatek (Ngankam 84’)
Unused subs: Schwolow, Alderete, Pekarik, Ascacibar, Darida, Löwen
Out: Boyata (foot), Cordoba (muscular), Dilrosun (knee), Plattenhardt (groin), Torunarigha (hip)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Leipzig: Gulacsi - Klostermann, Orban, Halstenberg (Konate 83’) - Adams, Sabitzer (c), Haidara (Mukiele 59’), Angelino – Olmo (Kluivert 79’), Hwang (Nkunku 59’) - Poulsen (Sorloth 83’)
Unused subs: Martinez, Samardzic, Henrichs
Out: Forsberg (knee), Kampl (unconfirmed), Laimer (knee), Szoboszlai (groin), Upamecano (unconfirmed)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann