Bundesliga: Augsburg Win As Coach Returns From Toothpaste Ban, RB Leipzig Go Third

Augsburg won 3-0 at sliding Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga on Sunday as coach Heiko Herrlich made a victorious debut in the dugout.

Herrlich was making his debut after a trip to buy toothpaste ruled him out of last weekend’s game.

RB Leipzig also got back to winning ways after three draws with a rampant 5-0 win at strugglers Mainz.

They moved back up to third in the table and thereby reignited their outside title hopes.

Timo Werner scored another hat-trick against Mainz to help send RB Leipzig seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich with seven games left this term.

Mainz are 15th and now three points above Fortuna Dusseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off spot.

They could have closed the gap by more but for two late Cologne goals in a 2-2 draw at their derby rivals in the late game.

Dusseldorf’s Kenan Karaman netted with a deflected strike in the first half with Erik Thommy making it two shortly after Mark Uth’s weak penalty kick for Cologne was easily saved.

Cologne, who included Ismail Jakobs in the starting line-up after he recovered from Covid-19, stormed back through Anthony Modeste (88th minute) and Jhon Cordoba (90th min.).

At Schalke 04, a free-kick by Eduard Loewen and goals from Noah Sarenren Bazee and Sergio Cordova ended a run of six games without a win for 12th-placed Augsburg.

The hosts, who are in eighth position, failed to win for a ninth league match.

Schalke 04’s UEFA Europa League hopes took a knock after another dreadful display as both sides played their second game since a two-month coronavirus suspension.

Herrlich, appointed in March, took charge of an Augsburg match for the first time having sat out the 2-1 home defeat by Wolfsburg after breaking quarantine by going out to purchase toothpaste.

“It was a strange feeling in an empty stadium,” Herrlich told a news conference. “There is nothing to celebrate yet. We have achieved the turnaround. Now we have to push on.”

After a minute’s silence for victims of the pandemic, Augsburg kicked off opposite a familiar face.

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On-loan Michael Gregoritsch led the line for Schalke 04 against his parent club, but he failed to shine.

Schalke 04 goalkeeper Markus Schubert was again preferred to Bayern Munich-bound Alexander Nuebel in spite of a shaky showing in last weekend’s 4-0 loss at derby rivals Borussia Dortmund.

He could do little about Loewen’s curling sixth minute free-kick, getting a fingertip to the ball as it flew in.

Schalke 04, who also lost Suat Serdar to a leg injury, huffed and puffed for a leveller but never came especially close.

Poor defending then allowed Sarenren Bazee to score his first Bundesliga goal with a crisp finish after a counter-attack on 76 minutes.

Cordova took advantage of more bad play in the backline to make it 3-0 in stoppage time.

“We expected something very different. I think we showed a reaction to the Borussia Dortmund defeat. But then there were individual mistakes,” said Schalke 04 captain Daniel Caligiuri.

After a great start to the season, RB Leipzig had looked far from title challengers immediately before and after the coronavirus hiatus.

But they quickly burst back to form against a hapless Mainz.

Werner slightly scuffed home Konrad Laimer’s pass on 11 minutes.

Yussuf Poulsen then headed in Marcel Sabitzer’s cross and Sabitzer got on the scoresheet himself from Poulsen’s lay-off on 36 minutes.

It was more of the same early in the second half with Germany forward Werner tapping in after a well-worked move.

He then hooked in a career-high 24th league goal of the season to match his triple from the 8-0 win in the home game against Mainz in November.

All Bundesliga games until the end of the season will be without fans to try to limit infection.

On Saturday, leaders Bayern Munich beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 and second-placed Borussia Dortmund prevailed 2-0 at Wolfsburg ahead of the title-chasing duo meeting in Dortmund on Tuesday.