Sunday’s Bundesliga fixtures saw RB Leipzig carry on their miraculous start to the season with a win over Mainz, whilst Schalke overcame Werder Bremen at the Veltins Arena.
Schalke 3-1 Werder Bremen
A brace from Alessandro Schöpf inspired Schalke to a 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen at the Veltins Arena.
The Austrian opened the scoring in the 35th minute, before Nabil Bentaleb doubled the lead three minutes later. Serge Gnabry did convert the penalty he won three minutes before the break to put Bremen back in the game, but Schöpf’s second-half strike secured all three points for the hosts.
The result leaves Bremen in 16th place, whilst Schalke move up to twelfth.
The game began fairly evenly, with Schöpf proving reasonably effective on the right, whilst Serge Gnabry looked a threat on the break for the visitors. However, it was the hosts who would carve out the first chance, but Eric Choupo-Moting blazed over when well placed after Max Meyer’s corner found its way untidily to the Cameroonian.
Players from both sides fancied their chances from distance with clear-cut opportunities difficult to manufacture, but Nabil Bentaleb’s efforts were in vain, managing to hit the Werder defence and then the Schalke fans behind the goal with his efforts. Theodor Gebre Selassie had no such difficulties however, and only a finger-tip save from Ralf Fährmann prevented the Czech Republic international from giving the visitors the lead.
Both teams strived without success to grasp the intiative during the middle period of the half, although Meyer’s free-kicks and corners looked a potential source of danger. Nevertheless, with 15 minutes to go before half time, Schalke broke the deadlock through 22-year-old Schöpf.
Choupo-Moting’s knockdown found Meyer, whose volley crashed against the bar, but the Austrian made no mistake in heading in the rebound. Three minutes later and 1-0 became 2-0 thanks to Tottenham loanee Bentaleb. Naldo’s long-range free-kick was pushed out by Bremen keeper Felix Wiedwald, but only into the path of the Algerian, who slotted in calmly.
Nevertheless, three minutes later Austria international Schöpf went from hero to zero, bringing down Gnabry on the left-hand side of the box after the danger had seemingly passed following a low ball in from the right that went right across goal.
The former Arsenal man made no mistake from the spot, sending Fährmann the wrong way to reduce the deficit three minutes before the break.
However, Schalke re-asserted themselves in the second half, and should have restored their two-goal advantage within the first ten minutes, but Wiedwald did brilliantly to stop Schöpf’s volley from Sead Kolašinac’s cross, before getting down well to Geis’ effort. However, he pushed the 23-year-old’s effort straight out to Choupo-Moting, who in turn failed to direct his header on target.
Nonetheless, a minute after Fin Bartels saw his long-range curler saved and held by Fährmann, Schöpf scored his second goal of the game. Kolašinac was heavily involved again, as his low cross from the left found its way to the 22-year-old Austrian, who took a touch inside before slotting the ball past Wiedwald at his near post.
Bremen never really looked like getting back into the game after that, although Kolašinac was lucky not to give away a second penalty of the game, after replays showed he caught Gnabry just inside the box, a minute after the ex-Arsenal winger had once again tumbled over in the box.
Substitute Baba Rahman could have scored a fourth for the hosts with the last kick of the game, but blazed over after having beaten a few men, but it made no difference to the outcome.
Leipzig 3-1 Mainz
In the day’s earlier game, Leipzig went level on points with Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table after a 3-1 victory over Mainz at the Red Bull Arena.
The hosts took the lead inside three minutes through Timo Werner, who took advantage of a loose ball within the Mainz box to smash home. Werner then turned provider for Emil Forsberg, who doubled Leipzig’s lead just after the twenty-minute mark.
The Swede then returned the compliment a minute before the break, setting up Werner for his second and Leipzig’s third. Stefan Bell did score a consolation goal for the visitors in the second half, rising highest from a corner to head home with fifteen minutes remaining, but Leipzig were not to be denied a victory that ensures the continuation of their remarkable season.