Leipzig fairytale continues, now tied with Bayern at top of table

Timo Werner scored twice to get Leipzig a 3-1 win over Mainz.

BERLIN — Leipzig’s fairytale start to the season continued Sunday as the side moved level on points with Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga.

A fully merited 3-1 home win over visiting Mainz extended Leipzig’s record unbeaten start for a side playing its first-ever season in the Bundesliga to 10 games.

The win puts pressure on Bayern, which drew 1-1 with Hoffenheim on Saturday and is top only by virtue of goal difference.

Bayern and Hoffenheim are also unbeaten this season.

After 10 games, Hoffenheim is third, ahead of Hertha Berlin which also has 20 points.

"We’ve played less than a third of the league. We’ll see how long the situation continues," said Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick, whose side also matched the 10-game unbeaten start by a promoted team that MSV Duisburg achieved 23 years ago.

Leipzig was only founded in 2009.

Timo Werner got his side off to a flying start in the third minute, when Emil Forsberg ran at the Mainz defence and eluded two defenders before Werner crossed his path to score.

Forsberg made it 2-0 in the 21st, beating the hapless Giulio Donati to Werner’s cross for his fourth goal of the season.

Werner should have grabbed his second shortly afterward as Leipzig threatened to run riot against the shaken visitors.

It got worse for Mainz when midfielder Suat Serdar went off injured, forcing Martin Schmidt to bring on Yunus Malli, who was due a rest.

Werner effectively ended the game before the break when he was again set up by Forsberg.

Leipzig kept pushing after the interval. Werner almost scored again on the hour-mark when Donati’s chest got in the way and Forsberg had another good chance shortly afterward.

But Stefan Bell’s consolation in the 74th was the only goal of the second half.

A fire alarm before the game caused the evacuation of the stadium to begin due to a "serious technical disruption," only for it to be declared a false alarm minutes later.

Rangnick had said talk of challenging Bayern was premature after the side’s eighth game, a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen.

"I said before the season that the table can only be taken seriously after the 10th game. If we’re still there after the 10th round then you can really say we’re on the right path," Rangnick said at the time.



Alessandro Schoepf scored two and gave away a penalty as steadily improving Schalke claimed only its third league win.

Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann produced a fingertip save to deny Theodor Gebre Selassie early on, but it was the hosts which looked likelier to score, with Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting going close.

Schoepf broke the deadlock in the 35th, heading home the rebound after Max Meyer struck the crossbar, and Nabil Bentaleb made it 2-0 three minutes later, when he was first to react after Felix Wiedwald could only parry Naldo’s free kick.

Then Schoepf gave away a penalty for bringing down Serge Gnabry. The Bremen forward dusted himself off to convert the spot kick and keep his side in the game.

Schoepf atoned by restoring Schalke’s two-goal cushion after the hour mark, firing inside the right post to leave Bremen coach Alexander Nouri casting his eyes to the sky.

Bremen veteran Claudio Pizarro came on for his season debut with 20 minutes remaining but couldn’t prevent the side slipping back into the relegation playoff spot.

Schalke remained 12th. Markus Weinzierl’s side had started with five straight defeats.

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