RB LEIPZIG WARMED up for their Champions League last 16 tie at Tottenham Hotspur next week with a routine 3-0 win over struggling Werder Bremen to regain top spot from Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
With Bayern playing Cologne away on Sunday, Leipzig took the chance to usurp the defending champions and establish a two-point lead.
Leipzig’s sporting director Markus Kroesche praised his team for preserving energy with the Spurs tie looming in London on Wednesday.
“The boys know we have some heavy weeks coming up, so they knew not to burn things up and score six or seven goals in the process,” he said.
Kroesche said the victory keeps the pressure on Bayern after Leipzig earned a goalless draw at the Allianz Arena last Sunday.
“I don’t know whether we are the hunter or the hunted, it’s just important that we win these games and see what the next few weeks bring.”
Goals by defender Lukas Klostermann, forward Patrik Schick and midfielder Nordi Mukiele sealed the home win.
Klostermann broke the deadlock when he tapped home on 18 minutes when Schick had nudged the ball back from the far post after a free-kick.
Schick then grabbed his sixth Bundesliga goal of the season just before the break when he headed home a corner by Spain Under-21 playmaker Dani Olmo.
Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi made a great save to prevent an own goal just before halftime after defender Dayot Upamecano had stretched to block a shot. France Under-21 midfielder Mukiele put the matter beyond doubt with Leipzig’s third goal early in the second half.
The defeat piles the pressure on Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt after 10 losses in 12 league games and his side second from bottom.
Elsewhere, the goals flew late on in Bayer Leverkusen’s stunning 3-2 win at Union Berlin as Karim Bellarabi netted the winner four minutes into added time.
Having scored two late goals within 82 seconds of each other in last weekend’s 4-3 home win over Borussia Dortmund, Peter Bosz’s Leverkusen again left it late.