Leipzig’s striker Timo Werner (R) celebrates with Leipzig’s French forward Jean Kevin Augustin after scoring the first goal for Leipzig during the German first division Bundesliga football match between RB Leipzig and SC Freiburg in Leipzig, eastern Germany on August 27, 2017. ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP
Germany striker Timo Werner netted twice as RB Leipzig came from behind to beat Freiburg 4-1 on Sunday and get their Bundesliga season on track.
Leipzig scored four goals without reply in the second half, roaring back after falling behind in a poor first period on the back of losing their opening match of the season 2-0 at Schalke last weekend.
“When you manage to turn things around like we did, at some point you are going to be rewarded,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl. “It was a victory of our morale because we never gave up.”
Werner’s goals were a timely reminder for Germany head coach Joachim Loew, who included the fleet-footed forward for World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic on Friday in Prague and against Norway in Stuttgart four days later.
“We know what we have in him — he can make goals out of nothing,” said Leipzig midfielder Diego Demme, heaping praise on the striker. Werner and his forward partner Jean-Kevin Augustin were instrumental in turning the game around.
Freiburg took a deserved lead at the Red Bull Arena when left winger Marco Terrazzino escaped his marker and Florian Niederlechner slotted home his cross on 24 minutes.
But Leipzig flew out of the blocks for the second half and were level within three minutes as a corner by Emil Forsberg was headed home by Werner. Leipzig then took the lead when captain Willi Orban tapped home on 55 minutes after some good work by new signing Augustin, recruited from Paris Saint-Germain.
He raced down the right wing before firing in a cross which centre-back Orban simply had to turn home. The Frenchman then provided the killer pass which put Werner into space to slot home his second on 69 minutes and make it 3-1.
Augustin made way for Portuguese midfielder Bruma on 76 minutes and just two minutes later the new signing from Galatasaray netted with a stunning shot from the edge of the area.
To compound Freiburg’s misery, midfielder Nicolas Hoefler was sent off inside the final 10 minutes after his foul on Forsberg saw him earn a second yellow.
A fortnight before they make their Champions League debut at home to Monaco, the victory was a timely confidence booster for Leipzig. Later, Brazilian striker Jonathas enjoyed a dream debut for Hanover by netting their second-half winner in a 1-0 victory over Schalke.
Just five minutes after coming on, Jonathas rifled home the winner on 67 minutes to start repaying the nine million euros ($10.7m) he cost from Russian side Rubin Kazan in a deal completed on Tuesday.
Having been stripped of the Schalke captaincy by new coach Domenico Tedesco, World Cup-winning defender Benedikt Hoewedes was again left on the bench.
The 29-year-old centre-back, who has spent his whole career at Schalke and has a contract until 2020, is reportedly considering a move to Juventus in a 15 million-euro deal.
On Saturday, two goals from Robert Lewandowski sealed a 2-0 win for defending champions Bayern Munich at Werder Bremen.
Borussia Dortmund are top of the fledgling table on goal difference from Bayern after a 2-0 win at home to Hertha Berlin, with goals by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nuri Sahin.
Hanover and Hamburg join Bayern and Dortmund as the only teams in Germany’s top flight with 100 percent records after the opening two games.