RB Leipzig believe they are now in a Bundesliga title “duel” with Bayern Munich after closing the gap to two points with another win, this time at Hertha Berlin.
With a draw at home to Arminia Bielefeld and then defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern have dropped five points this week since returning from the Club World Cup in Qatar.
Those setbacks granted Leipzig an opportunity to re-enter a title race that had looked to be over – and Julian Nagelsmann’s side capitalised with a 3-0 success at Hertha on Sunday.
Leipzig have won all five of their Bundesliga away games against Hertha, although they only pulled clear of their hosts in the closing stages.
Marcel Sabitzer’s sublime long-range strike was all that separated the sides until the 71st minute when Nordi Mukiele added a second.
Sabitzer and Mukiele had each committed errors leading to goals in the midweek Champions League defeat to Liverpool.
There was then a clinching third courtesy of Willi Orban, moving Leipzig five points ahead of third-placed Wolfsburg while piling the pressure on Bayern.
Sabitzer, who has 12 career Bundesliga goals from outside the area, albeit this was his first of 2020-21, told Sky Sport: “It was not to be expected that Bayern would drop five points.
Sabi on his goal:
“I have full confidence in my right foot! I struck the ball ideally and it landed perfectly in the back of the net; it was a really nice goal.”
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) February 21, 2021
“Now we have caught up the points, now there are only two. We are a bit clear of third place, so it’s a duel.
“It doesn’t help to talk about it, we have to do it and stick with it week after week. Otherwise I can say something completely different next week and then everyone will laugh at me again.”
Nagelsmann added: “Of course, we’re pleased to have moved back to within two points of Bayern.
“Some teams behind us also picked up points, which makes the victory today even more important.”
Bayern, who have already lost twice in the Bundesliga in 2021 after a sole defeat last year, visit Leipzig on April 3.