bundesliga

Timo Werner back among the goals as RB Leipzig thrash Schalke

Timo Werner scored his first Bundesliga goal in over a month and Christopher Nkunku grabbed four assists as RB Leipzig romped to a comfortable victory over Schalke, closing the gap on leaders Bayern Munich to just a point.

Schalke 0-5 RB Leipzig
Goals: 0-1 Sabitzer (1'), 0-2 Werner (61'), 0-3 Halstenberg (68'), 0-4 Angelino (80'), 0-5 Forsberg (89')

The game wasn't even a minute old when Leipzig forged ahead, with Marcel Sabitzer thundering in his eighth goal of the campaign from range – although Schalke's Bayern Munich-bound goalkeeper Alexander Nübel really should have done better. The Royal Blues weathered the early storm and settled into the game, but despite some good running from Rabbi Matondo and Amine Harit they failed to seriously trouble visiting custodian Peter Gulacsi. Leipzig soon began to slip through the gears again, and Sabitzer could have doubled up after Werner's shot was blocked by Omar Mascarell, but turned inside and scooped over instead of taking on the rebound first time. The Leipzig captain then fizzed another effort wide before sending in a brilliant delivery for Patrik Schick, but the Czech striker couldn't steer it past Nübel. Marcel Halstenberg slid in with a superbly timed tackle to prevent Schalke forward Benito Raman scampering free on the counter, and the Belgian was flagged offside after drawing a save from Gulacsi as Leipzig went in a goal to the good at half-time.

Raman and Nkunku had chances at either end early in the second half, but Sabitzer dragged wide with only Nübel to beat. A finely balanced contest was then decided in the space of eight minutes, as Werner first smashed high into the roof for his first league goal since 18 January, and Halstenberg nodded in Nkunku's corner delivery to snuff out any hopes of a Schalke comeback. Matija Nastasic came close to pulling one back just before Halstenberg struck, but Gulacsi was not to be denied his seventh clean sheet of the season. A miserable night got worse for the hosts as Manchester City loanee Angelino made it 4-0 in the closing stages, opening his account for Leipzig with a low angled drive. Nkunku completed a memorable night by getting his fourth assist of the match for substitute Emil Forsberg, as Julian Nagelsmann's five-star side rounded out a perfect week and kept the pressure on Bayern at the top.

Match stats

  • Sabitzer is up to eight goals for the campaign, matching his career-best return in the Bundesliga from 2016/17. He hit 19 with Salzburg in the 2014/15 Austrian Bundesliga season.
  • The Austria winger has notched five of those eight strikes from distance, more than any other player in the Bundesliga this season.
  • Werner brought an end to his four-game scoring drought in the Bundesliga and also equalled his career-best return from 2016/17, with a 21st of the campaign. The Germany striker was also on target in midweek in the UEFA Champions League win over Tottenham Hotspur.
  • With 88 goals in 147 competitive appearances, Werner is now Leipzig's joint all-time leading scorer alongside Daniel Frahn.
  • In keeping with one of the themes of the night, Halstenberg also matched his career-best tally of three goals in a Bundesliga season from 2018/19.
  • The Royal Blues suffered their first Bundesliga home defeat since 24 August 2019, when they were beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich. David Wagner's side had gone 10 games unbeaten at the Veltins-Arena (W5, D5).

Watch: Angelino: "We played great football"

Line-ups

Schalke: Nübel - Kenny, Kabak, Nastasic, Oczipka - McKennie (Schöpf 55'), Mascarell (c), Serdar (Gregoritsch 70') - Harit - Matondo (Kutucu 46'), Raman
Unused subs: Langer, Miranda, Todibo, Becker, Boujellab, Burgstaller
Out: Caligiuri (knee), Sane (knee), Schubert (knee), Stambouli (metatarsal)
Coach: David Wagner

Leipzig: Gulacsi - Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg - Mukiele, Sabitzer (c), Laimer (Haidara 65'), Angelino - Nkunku, Schick (Poulsen 54'), Werner (Forsberg 75')
Unused subs: Mvogo, Ampadu, Wolf, Olmo, Lookman
Out: Adams (calf), Kampl (ankle), Konate (hamstring), Orban (knee)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann

Watch: Mascarell: "When you play for a big club like Schalke you have to fight"