46 min Leipzig begin the second half. Mainz have made a change: Jean-Philippe Mateta has replaced Jeffrey Bruma.
“Morning from the parallel universe that is the USA,” says Alan Kirkup. “Do all the other Bundesliga games have crowd noise piped in? Or is Fox here in the US doing it?”
None of them do, as far as I’m aware, so it must be a TV thing. How peculiar.
Half time: Mainz 0-3 RB Leipzig
Peep peep! Leipzig’s frustrating run of draws is coming to an end. They were pretty awesome in that first half – too dynamic, too skilful, too much for Mainz. In fact, the 3-0 scoreline flatters the home side.
45 min Nkunku misses a sitter, sliding the ball wide from eight yards after a lovely through pass from Kampl. Leipzig should be at least five goals up.
44 min Does anyone know the Bundesliga record for the highest aggregate score in one season? With 45 minutes still to play, Leipzig lead Mainz 11-0 in the 2019-20 season.
42 min A substitution for Leipzig. The injured Konrad Laimer, who was excellent at right-back, has been replaced by Nordi Mukiele.
39 min A good attack from Mainz. Boetius, on the right, curls a beautiful cross that just evades the stretching Quaison at the far post.
GOAL! Mainz 0-3 Leipzig (Sabitzer 36)
Marcel Sabitzer seals victory for Leipzig – already. He won the ball in midfield and led a four-on-three break, with Mainz backpedalling desperately. Nkunku’s close-range shot was brilliantly blocked by Muller, with the ball rebounding to Poulsen on the left of the area. He teed up Sabitzer, who sliced a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
35 min Werner is booked for a slightly petultant but essentially harmless foul on Baku. This referee seems a bit fussy.
33 min: What a miss from Poulsen! Leipzig should be out of sight. A stunning long pass from Klostermann found Werner in space on the right. He looked up and slid an inviting first-time ball across the face of goal, only for Poulsen to spank it wide from eight yards. He was under pressure from Bruma, but it was still a straightforward chance.
33 min Mainz came back from 2-0 down to draw at Cologne last weekend, but it’s hard to see a repeat today. Leipzig are on a different level.
32 min Halstenberg curls the free-kick over the bar. That wasn’t a great effort.
31 min Bruma is booked for a foul on Poulsen just outside the area.
28 min Another opening for Leipzig. Nkunku flicks the ball across the six-yard line towards the unmarked Poulsen, but St. Juste nips in front to boot the ball behind.
25 min: Good save from Muller! Leipzig are far too good for Mainz at the moment. Another Sabitzer cross from the right is headed towards the bottom corner by Werner, forcing Muller to scramble across his line and push the ball behind.
GOAL! Mainz 0-2 Leipzig (Poulsen 23)
Yussuf Poulsen scores on his 250th appearance for Leipzig! Sabitzer, on the right, chipped a lovely cross towards Poulsen, who thumped a header through the hands of Muller from six yards.
20 min Kunde is booked for tripping Kampl, the third yellow card of the match.
20 min Poulsen seems to be okay. He’s still limping a bit but he’s going to continue.
18 min Poulsen is down and in a fair bit of pain. His leg got stuck under the body of Niakhate, and he may have damaged ankle ligaments.
17 min Another yellow card, this time for Upamecano. He lost the ball in a dangerous area and then tripped Fernandes.
16 min A caption on BT Sport confirms that Leipzig have had precisely 70 per cent of the possession so far. They’ve been excellent.
12 min It’s been a smooth, dominant start from Leipzig, who must have had at least 65 per cent of the possession.
GOAL! Mainz 0-1 Leipzig (Werner 11)
Timo Werner ends his mini-drought by scoring his 22nd of the season. It was made by Laimer, who beat Martin and Quaison on the right before crossing low towards the near post. Werner, who was unmarked as he ran onto the ball, dragged a first-time shot across Muller and into the far corner.
8 min Sabitzer drives angled pass towards Halstenberg on the left of the area. He heads it back across towards Poulsen, who is just beaten to the ball by Bruma. A corner to Leipzig, which eventually leads to a 20-yard snapshot from Sabitzer that is blocked.
7 min Boetius slides a through ball towards Quaison, who is flagged offside. It was pretty tight, though it didn’t really matter as he overran the ball anyway.
4 min Mainz threaten briefly through Onisiwo, who bursts into the area on the right before being crowded out by Upamecano and Klostermann.
3 min Halstenberg’s cross flashes across the penalty area, just in front of Poulsen. It’s been a good start from Leipzig, who look very confident in possession.
2 min Leipzig are playing a back four, with Marcel Halstenberg at left-back, rather than the 3-1-4-2 formation we expected.
1 min Peep peep! Mainz, in red, kick off from left to right. Leipzig are wearing their navy away strip.
Leipzig could do with a goal or three from Timo Werner today. He’s scored 21 league goals this season – but 18 of them came before Christmas.
In the early game, Augsburg are on course for a terrific win at Schalke: they lead 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining.
Mainz (3-4-2-1) Muller; St. Juste, Bruma, Niakhate; Baku, Kunde, Fernandes, Martin; Boetius, Quaison; Onisiwo.
Substitutes Dahmen, Latza, Oztunali, Mateta, Ji, Brosinski, Awoniyi, Barreiro, Hack.
Leipzig (3-1-4-2) Gulacsi; Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Laimer; Sabitzer, Kampl, Nkunku, Olmo; Werner, Poulsen.
Substitutes Mvogo, Angelino, Orban, Haidara, Adams, Lookman, Wolf, Schick, Mukiele.
Hello. At the end of January, RB Leipzig were top of the table, dreaming of winning the Bundesliga for the first time in their short history. They are unbeaten since then, yet they’ve dropped down to fifth in the table. Leipzig are a case study in the dangers of the draw, with five in their last seven games.
It looks like a typical example of an outsider title challenge fading away, but that’s not necessarily the case. All five draws were against teams in the top seven, including an excellent away point at Bayern Munich, so Leipzig’s form is not as bad as it seems. It also means they have a really favourable run-in.
A win today against Mainz – who they walloped 8-0 in the return fixture in November – would move them back up to third, seven points behind the leaders Bayern Munich. That’s a big gap with only seven games to play and Bayern in such blistering form. But Bayern have some tough games to come, including trips to Dortmund, Leverkusen and Wolfsburg.
Leipzig aren’t out of the title race yet. But they might be in a couple of hours’ time. This is a must-must-must-win game.
Kick off 2.30pm BST, 3.30pm CET.