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European football

Leipzig back on top of Bundesliga after beating Hertha

Leipzig's team celebrates after defeating Hertha Berlin

RB Leipzig, playing their first season in the top flight, went back to the top of the Bundesliga with a comfortable 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Midfielder Danny Latza scored a hat-trick as Mainz 05 ended Hamburg SV’s mini-revival with a 3-1 win while Augsburg, who fired coach Dirk Schuster on Wednesday, handed troubled Borussia Moenchengladbach a 1-0 defeat.

Timo Werner and Willi Orban scored either side of halftime as Leipzig bounced back from last week’s shock reverse at lowly Ingolstadt, their only defeat of the season.

Werner broke the deadlock five minutes before halftime when he cleverly controlled Naby Keita’s pass into the area before firing past Rune Jarstein from close range.

Fourth-placed Hertha barely offered a threat and the result was never in doubt after Orban headed in the second goal in the 62nd minute when he was given a free header at a corner.

Leipzig have 36 points from 15 games, three more than Bayern who will reclaim the lead if they win at bottom-of-the-table Darmstadt on Sunday.

Hamburg, the only ever-present team in the Bundesliga’s 53-history, were left in 16th place, the relegation playoff spot, after losing at ninth-placed Mainz 05.

The Dinos were unbeaten in their last four games and started well when United States forward Bobby Wood provided a superb finish to Matthias Ostrzolek’s through ball in the 21st minute.

Their joy was short-lived, however, as 14 minutes later Douglas Santos sent a dreadful clearance to Latza who equalised.

Latza put Hamburg ahead in the 56th minute with a shot from the edge of the area which went in off the post and rifled home his third from 25 metres 11 minutes later.

Yevhen Konoplyanka scored his first-ever Bundesliga goal to rescue a 1-1 draw for Schalke 04 at home to promoted Freiburg.

The Ukrainian, signed on loan from Sevilla in August, headed in from Abdul Baba’s cross in the 74th minute to cancel out Florian Niederlechner’s goal for the visitors 10 minutes earlier.

Werder Bremen, a modest 14th with 15 points, drew 1-1 at home to Cologne while Gladbach are only one place above them after their defeat at Augsburg where Martin Hinteregger headed the only goal.

Augsburg’s win, under interim coach Manuel Baum, took them above Gladbach into 12th.

Results: Saturday, December 17
VfL Wolfsburg 1 Jeffrey Bruma 33
Eintracht Frankfurt 0

Schalke 04 1 Yevhen Konoplyanka 74
Freiburg 1 Florian Niederlechner 64

Mainz 3 Danny Latza 35,56,67
Hamburg SV 1 Bobby Wood 21

RB Leipzig 2 Timo Werner 40, Willi Orban 62
Hertha Berlin 0

FC Augsburg 1 Martin Hinteregger 75
Borussia Moenchengladbach 0

Werder Bremen 1 Serge Gnabry 40
Cologne 1 Artjoms Rudnevs 28

Friday, December 16
Hoffenheim 2 Mark Uth 3, Sandro Wagner 20
Borussia Dortmund 2 Mario Goetze 11, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 48

Next Fixtures (GMT):
Sunday, December 18
SV Darmstadt 98 v Bayern Munich (1430)
Bayer Leverkusen v FC Ingolstadt 04 (1630)

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