Promoted Leipzig go 6 points clear atop Bundesliga
BERLIN: Promoted Leipzig's fairytale start to the Bundesliga continued Friday when the side carved out a six-point lead at the top with a 4-1 win at Freiburg.
Naby Keita got the visitors off to a flying start in the second minute with a fierce strike to the corner from 25 meters (yards).
Florian Niederlechner, who hadn't defended well against the Guinea midfielder, claimed the equaliser against the run of play with a header to Pascal Stenzel's corner, but Timo Werner restored Leipzig's lead in the 21st and copperfastened it with his second a little over ten minutes later.
Freiburg improved after the break but the game failed to ignite amid regular interruptions due to fouls by both sides.
Marcel Sabitzer, who had already struck the post, made it 4-1 late on, making it Freiburg's heaviest defeat of the season.
"Leipzig played a strong game. They have a brutal self-confidence," said Niederlechner, whose side slipped to its third straight defeat. "We tried everything but you could see Leipzig's class."
The result is all that matters for Leipzig, which extended its record unbeaten start for a new team in the Bundesliga to 12 games after its seventh straight victory.
"How the team is playing at the moment is simply great fun," Leipzig sport director Ralf Rangnick said.
Leipzig is a project created by the Austrian energy-drink maker Red Bull and its billionaire founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who bought and rebranded a local fifth-tier club in 2009 before financing promotion through the lower leagues.
Most rival fans strongly object to the club's investment-enabled progress — a severed bull's head was thrown near the pitch during a cup match against Saxony rival Dynamo Dresden earlier this season — while some welcome a more open title race.
Four-time defending champion Bayern Munich needs to recover from its first defeat of the season, against Borussia Dortmund last weekend, with a win at home over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday to restore the three-point gap.
Dortmund is nine points behind Leipzig ahead of its tricky game at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.