Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick scored four second-half goals as third-placed Bayer Leverkusen thrashed bottom club Greuther Fuerth 7-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Schick grabs four goals as Leverkusen put seven past Fuerth
Leverkusen's Czech forward Patrik Schick (R) scored four goals on Saturday
With leaders Bayern Munich at second-placed Borussia Dortmund in Saturday evening's top-of-the-table clash, Leverkusen took the chance to move within three points of Dortmund, who are one point behind Bayern.
Schick became the first Leverkusen player in the club's history to score four goals in one half of a Bundesliga match.
"In the first half I didn't have a single shot at goal. The second half was like opening a bottle of ketchup," Schick quipped.
Hosts Leverkusen converted their first chance of the game when French striker Amine Adli picked out the bottom corner on 12 minutes.
Teenage midfielder Florian Wirtz then floated in a free-kick which was headed home by Edmond Tapsoba, who was completely unmarked in the area.
Fuerth's unwanted Bundesliga record now stretches to 12 straight defeats.
They pulled a goal back when Jeremy Dudziak profited from a mistake in the Leverkusen defence.
Schick was then involved in the next five Leverkusen goals as the hosts ran riot.
He set up Ecuador's Piero Hincapie just before the break, then fired in four goals in just 37 minute -- two with his left foot, one with his right and a header.
Schick has now scored 12 times in 11 league games this season and trails only Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, who had netted 14 goals before Saturday's matches, in the scoring charts.
Wolfsburg crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Mainz ahead of Wednesday's all-or-nothing Champions League clash at home to Lille.
Wolfsburg never recovered from conceding a goal by forward Jonathan Burkardt after just 68 seconds.
They were 2-0 down after only four minutes when Mainz midfielder Anton Stach scored from outside the box.
To compound Wolfsburg's misery, their French defender Maxence Lacroix scored a late own goal.
"The first half wasn't good enough -- we didn't create a goal-scoring chance," said Wolfsburg defender Josuha Guilavogui.
Hoffenheim climbed into the top four with a 3-2 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt, whose three-match winning streak was ended.
"It's very annoying," bemoaned Frankfurt midfielder Sebastian Rode.
"We lost the thread after going ahead. In the end it wasn't enough, we had no answer."
Colombia striker Rafael Borre gave Frankfurt an early lead, but goals by Dennis Geiger, Georginio Rutter and Diadie Samassekou put Hoffenheim in command.
Substitute Goncalo Paciencia scored Frankfurt's second to set up a tense final 20 minutes, with empty stands in Sinsheim due to high numbers of Covid cases in the region.
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