By Mark Meadows, dpa
Berlin (dpa) – Bayern Munich burst to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday after Robert Lewandowski scored yet again in a 3-1 win at Mainz.
RB Leipzig could have regained first place in the late game but drew 2-2 at home to fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach having been 2-0 down. A rocket from Christopher Nkunku on 90 minutes spared their blushes.
Champions Bayern now lead the way by a point on 42 from 20 games, having not been leaders since before the seventh matchday.
“I am happy that we have won a sixth game in a row. In the first 30 minutes I was impressed with my team. Then we took our foot off the gas a little too much,” coach Hansi Flick said with his side having netted 58 goals, a club record at this stage of the season and equalling the Bundesliga record.
Erling Braut Haaland made his first start for third-placed Borussia Dortmund and bagged his sixth and seventh goals in a 5-0 home thumping of Union Berlin. Fifth-placed Leverkusen lost 2-1 at Hoffenheim.
Uwe Roesler started his reign at second-bottom Fortuna Dusseldorf with a 1-1 draw at home to Eintracht Frankfurt, with the visitors levelling in injury time. Friedhelm Funkel was fired on Wednesday.
Werder Bremen stayed in the relegation play-off spot after a 2-1 defeat at Augsburg. Coach Florian Kohfeldt was again backed by the board to continue.
Hertha Berlin drew 0-0 with Schalke on Friday. Cologne take on Freiburg and bottom side Paderborn host Wolfsburg in Sunday’s games.
Bayern’s Flick, whose side host Leipzig next weekend, named the same starting line-up which destroyed Schalke 5-0 last Saturday and they were soon in the goals again at Mainz.
Bundesliga top scorer Lewandowski moved onto 22 league goals for the campaign as he threatens Gerd Mueller’s record of 40 in a season. The Poland striker met Benjamin Pavard’s cross with a bullet header which flew in at the near post on eight minutes.
Lewandowski was then involved in the build-up before Thomas Mueller made it 2-0 and Thiago Alcantara scored the third on 26 minutes, his fancy footwork combining with dreadful Mainz defending.
On half-time Mainz pulled one back through Jeremiah St. Juste’s deflected header and the second half was a non-event.
It was a game of two halves for Leipzig, leaders for the past five matchdays.
Gladbach’s Alassane Plea swept in the opener after a clever passing move in the box on 24 minutes and then an awful clearance by Germany defender Lukas Klostermann led to Jonas Hofmann finding the corner for 2-0.
Patrik Schick reduced the deficit after Yann Sommer dropped a cross and Gladbach’s Plea was then sent off for two bookings straight after each other for dissent. Debutant Dani Olmo struck the post and Leipzig finally found a leveller in style through Nkunku.
Dortmund’s January signing Haaland finally convinced coach Lucien Favre to give him a start after a hat-trick and two goals in his previous two appearances from the bench.
Jadon Sancho gave Dortmund the early lead via a deflection following confusion in the Union backline. The England winger, 19, became the youngest player to reach 25 career Bundesliga goals.
Haaland then netted a tap-in on 18 minutes and was engulfed by his happy team-mates, the 19-year-old Norway striker already fitting the bill as a cult hero at Dortmund after his move from Salzburg.
Captain Marco Reus added the third from the spot in the second half after Haaland was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, with Union players claiming he dived.
Axel Witsel soon netted and Haaland then scored with a powerful finish to become the first Bundesliga player to score seven times in his first three games.
“It was nice to play from the start. I have to get more fit but that will come when I play more games,” Haaland said.