Germany international Timo Werner produced one of the most remarkable individual performances in Bundesliga history as Leipzig romped to a crushing 8-0 win over Mainz on Matchday 10, claiming a hat-trick of both goals and assists.
Talk about a way to snap a winless streak! Leipzig had gone four games without victory in the Bundesliga as they entertained the 05ers on Saturday afternoon, but Werner was instrumental in getting their title bid back on track as he and the rest of Julian Nagelsmann's men simply tore the visitors to shreds.
It was a sensational performance from the 23-year-old, who will no doubt be popping up in Mainz defenders' nightmares over the coming days and weeks. Werner was simply everywhere, buzzing around the final third of the Red Bull Arena pitch like a man possessed and tormenting the opposition backline at will. He set the tone within five minutes as he raced down the left flank, danced past Jeremiah St. Juste and teed up Marcel Sabitzer for the opener. By the time the curtain came down on the biggest win in Leipzig's 10-year history, the Germany striker had set up two more and scored three himself.
"It was pretty good today," Werner told bundesliga.com afterwards, in what may go down as the understatement of the season. "We played without any stress. We kept our shape at the back and did a good job going forward. An 8-0 win is always fun!"
For some more than others. This dazzling demonstration gave the Leipzig striker the opportunity to showcase the range of abilities that make him a world-class striker: devastating pace, brilliant hold-up play, laser-guided passing and ice-cool finishing. It was hardly surprising that he attracted the ball like a magnet throughout, and actually played some part in all eight of his side's goals.
After setting up Sabitzer, Werner squeezed in number two from a tight angle after a flowing counter-attack. Number three saw him square for Christopher Nkunku – who fired in superbly from the edge of the area – while for numbers four and five he played the penultimate pass as Marcel Halstenberg and Yussuf Poulsen put the hosts 5-0 up by half time.
The Leipzig No.11 wasn't done there. Three minutes after the restart he collected a low through ball and drilled number six past Robin Zentner, before producing the assist of the day with a magnificent cross from deep for Nordi Mukiele, who gleefully headed in number seven. Fittingly, Werner had the final word, completing his second Bundesliga hat-trick after racing in at the back post to sweep in Lukas Klostermann's cross for number eight.
Since Bundesliga data collection began in 1992/93, he is just the third player to have had a hand in six goals in a single game, following on from Ionel Ganea in 2000/01 (a hat-trick of goals and assists in Stuttgart's 6-1 thrashing of Kaiserslautern) and Claudio Pizarro in 2012/13 (four goals and two assists in Bayern Munich's 9-2 demolition of Hamburg).
After getting his maiden Bundesliga treble in the 3-1 win at current leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 3, Werner had only managed one goal in six league outings, with Leipzig claiming a solitary win during that period. But both player and team found their groove this week, warming up for their sensational display against Mainz with a commanding 6-1 win over Wolfsburg in the DFB Cup. Their star frontman scored two and set up two against the Wolves, meaning he has now notched five goals and five assists in the space of four days. He is up to nine for the campaign in the Bundesliga.
"Today's game was very nearly perfect," Nagelsmann beamed in his post-match press conference. "If you look at what he did today and what he did against Gladbach, I think you get a clear picture of what Timo Werner is all about. In the Gladbach game he also scored three goals, but he worked unbelievably hard defensively. Today, he really shone going forward."
Watch: Werner grabbed his first Bundesliga hat-trick against the Foals
Nagelsmann will no doubt be delighted to see his chief marksman hitting such sizzling form, even if he was keen to point out that Sabitzer, Nkunku, Poulsen and the rest also deserved their share of the plaudits. Leipzig are third in the table – four points behind Gladbach and one shy of Borussia Dortmund – and their next three outings are against Hertha Berlin, Cologne and Paderborn, opponents who are all in the bottom half of the standings.
Another man who will be greedily reviewing the Leipzig-Mainz highlights is Germany coach Joachim Löw, who will want Werner firing on all cylinders for this month's crucial UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus and Northern Ireland.
In fact, perhaps the only person who will be unimpressed with news of Werner's stunning return to form – aside from those of a Mainz persuasion – is the Bundesliga's top scorer Robert Lewandowski, currently on 14 goals, who may have some competition for this season's Torjägerkanone after all…