Leipzig 'tough to stop' in title race after thrashing Schalke

by Ryland JAMES
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Halstenberg (C) celebrates during Leipzig's 5-0 thrashing of Schalke

Marcel Sabitzer said RB Leipzig will be "tough to stop" in the Bundesliga title race after their 5-0 thrashing of Schalke in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday kept them within a point of leaders Bayern Munich.

Leipzig stayed second in the table after their captain Sabitzer opened the scoring with less than a minute gone with a powerful drive.

Germany striker Timo Werner, defender Marcel Halstenberg, new signing Angelino and Emil Forsberg hit second-half goals as Leipzig built on their 1-0 midweek Champions League win at Tottenham.

It was another impressive away display, especially as their flight home following the Spurs game was delayed in the early hours of Thursday.

"We didn't expect it to be so easy after our tough Champions League match," admitted Sabitzer.

"But we did very well from the first minute. We're going to be tough to stop playing like that."

Leipzig kept pace with Bayern who squeezed past bottom side Paderborn on Friday.

Sabitzer gave Leipzig a spectacular lead by smashing a long-range shot past goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel.

An hour later, Werner claimed his 21st league goal of the season by rifling into the top corner past Nuebel, who will join Bayern for next season.

It turned into a rout when Halstenberg headed in Leipzig's third goal on 68 minutes, then Angelino, on loan from Manchester City, beat two defenders for their fourth on 81 minutes.

In the dying stages, Leipzig winger Christopher Nkunku produced his fourth assist to tee up Forsberg, on for Werner, to slot home.

- Haaland strikes again -

Earlier, Erling Braut Haaland scored his 40th goal of the season in Borussia Dortmund's 2-0 win at Werder Bremen.

The 19-year-old has netted 12 times in eight games since joining Dortmund for 20 million euros ($22 million) in December.

Haaland, who scored twice in Tuesday's Champions League last 16, first-leg win over Paris Saint-Germain, also scored 28 goals for Salzburg this term.

Dortmund ground out a victory which left them third after showing some early nerves in Bremen where they crashed to a 3-2 German Cup defeat earlier this month.

"We allowed them almost nothing and controlled the game more in the second half," said Dortmund midfielder Emre Can.

"Then Bremen got tired and we scored our goals at the right time."

Centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou gave the visitors the lead by volleying home a Jadon Sancho corner on 52 minutes.

"Another crappy goal conceded from a dead-ball situation. It's getting very tight for us now," said Bremen's Dutch midfielder Davy Klaassen whose side are second from bottom.

Haaland doubled the advantage by drilling Achraf Hakimi's square ball into the corner on 66 minutes to score his ninth Bundesliga goal.

After five straight league defeats, Bremen remain 17th and five points from safety.

They suffered another blow in the relegation battle as Fortuna Duesseldorf, who are a place above them, enjoyed a 2-0 win at Freiburg.

Fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach slipped six points behind Bayern, albeit with a game in hand, as Lucas Ribeiro's injury-time strike snatched Hoffenheim a 1-1 draw at Borussia Park.

Matthias Ginter had powered in an early opener for Gladbach, but the hosts were made to pay after Alassane Plea saw a 75th-minute penalty saved by Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.

- Hertha routed -

Despite splashing out 77 million euros ($83 million) on transfers in January, Hertha Berlin's woeful form continued in a 5-0 thrashing at home to Cologne.

Hertha were brought crashing back down to earth after Alexander Nouri won his first game in charge following Jurgen Klinsmann's shock resignation last weekend at Paderborn.

The home side defended poorly and were 2-0 down inside 22 minutes as Jhon Cordoba scored an early double.

The Colombian striker exploited a four-on-two situation for his first goal and easily escaped his marker to head in the second.

Midfielder Florian Kanz added two goals of his own before Mark Uth curled home a free-kick 20 minutes from time as Hertha capitulated.

There was a minute's silence at all grounds before kick-off in Germany's top flight to honour the nine victims of the Hanau shootings earlier this week.

Halstenberg (C) celebrates during Leipzig's 5-0 thrashing of Schalke

Haaland has scored 12 goals for Dortmund