Nordi Mukiele, Marcel Sabitzer and Willi Orban were on target as RB Leipzig consolidated second place with a comfortable 3-0 victory at bottom club Schalke.
Leipzig went into the contest as heavy favourites and were the more purposeful of the two sides in the early exchanges. Dani Olmo fired off the first shot of note, drawing a save out of Ralf Fährmann in the 10th minute. Christopher Nkunku sent a deflected effort wide, before Olmo miscued a speculative effort on the half-hour mark. Schalke had showed real resilience in restricting Leipzig to half chances at best, but a defensive lapse from Bundesliga debutant Shkrodan Mustafi allowed Mukiele to break the deadlock with a free header from Nkunku's in-swinging corner in first-half stoppage time.
Mukiele's effort more than made amends for an earlier error that had gifted a rare sight of Peter Gulasci's goal to Mark Uth. Leipzig made no such mistakes after the restart, however, playing the second half almost entirely on their own terms. The threat of a second goal loomed large as Fährmann repelled an Alexander Sorloth header and fierce hit from Nkunku. Angelino teed up another presentable opening for Nkunku approaching the hour, but the Frenchman side-footed wide from 12 yards. Leipzig's next effort stuck, effectively putting the game beyond Schalke. Substitute Yussuf Poulsen and Olmo were involved, before Angelino cut the ball back for Sabitzer to sweep home from inside the box. Orban's looping header from a corner compounded matters for Die Knappen late on.
- Five defenders have scored for Leipzig this season.
- Sabitzer netted his fourth Bundesliga goal of the 2020/21 campaign, but first from open play.
- Ten of Orban's 14 Bundesliga goals have been headers.
- Mustafi made his first appearance in German club football since playing for Hamburg's U19s in June 2009.
- Fährmann made his 250th competitive appearance for Schalke.
- The Royal Blues have shipped a league-high 52 goals across 20 games so far his season. Borussia Mönchengladbach were the last team to concede 50 or more after 20 matches, back in 2010/11 - they survived via the relegation play-offs.
Watch: Hoppe: “We have to keep believing and keep fighting”
Schalke: Fährmann - William, Mustafi, Nastasic, Kolasinac (c) - Stambouli, Mascarell (Thiaw 59') - Schöpf (Raman 59'), Uth (Boujellab 39'), Harit - Hoppe (Serdar 79')
Unused subs: Langer, Mendyl, Serdar, Oczipka, Mercan
Out: Becker (thigh), Bozdogan (ankle), Huntelaar (match fitness), Ludewig (foot), Paciencia (knee), Rönnow (groin), Sane (knee), Skrzybski (knee)
Coach: Christian Gross
Leipzig: Gulacsi - Mukiele, Upamecano, Orban - Adams (Klostermann 67'), Sabitzer (c) (Haidara 83'), Kampl, Angelino (Halstenberg 88') - Olmo, Nkunku (Hwang 83') - Sörloth (Poulsen 67')
Unused subs: Martinez, Konate, Samardzic
Out: Forsberg (knee), Kluivert (ankle), Laimer (knee), Szoboszlai (groin)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Watch: Nagelsmann: “I’m very happy with the performance and mentality”