RB Leipzig eased past Hertha Berlin 3-0 on Sunday to cut the gap with leaders Bayern Munich to two points with their fourth consecutive Bundesliga victory.
Marcel Sabitzer put the visitors in front in the 28th minute with a ferocious shot from 30 yards that went straight into the top corner with Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein frozen to the spot on a sunny afternoon in the capital.
Nordi Mukiele then took advantage of a mistake by Hertha's Matteo Guendouzi in the box to drill the ball in and double their lead in the 71st.
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Leipzig, who lost 2-0 to Liverpool in their Champions League round-of-16 first leg on Tuesday, were initially on the backfoot with Hertha missing several good chances before Sabitzer's goal against the run of play.
They then survived late pressure from Hertha with 'keeper Peter Gulacsi coming to the rescue twice before Willi Orban headed in Leipzig's third goal in the 84th to seal the win.
The Saxony club are in second place on 47 points, with Bayern top on 49 following their 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. VfL Wolfsburg and Frankfurt are on 42 in third and fourth place respectively.
"At the end the score was maybe a bit too high," said Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann. "Because the opponent was not three goals worse than us.
"It is good to be back near the top, also for our goal for Champions League qualification. We have to stay focused and try to win games," he said.
Hertha are now without a win in their last eight league games and are stuck in 15th place, level on 18 points with 16th Arminia Bielefeld, who sit in the relegation playoff spot.
Bayer Leverkusen lost further ground in their own race for a top-four spot, needing a last-gasp equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw against Augsburg and rescue a point.
Leverkusen, who have won only one of their last five games, are in fifth place on 37 points.
Hoffenheim earned their first win in the last four matches when they eased past Werder Bremen 4-0 in their midtable clash to switch places with the northern club and move up to 11th.
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