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Unbeaten Leverkusen swat aside Schalke to climb second in Bundesliga

Berlin (AFP) – Bayer Leverkusen remained hot on the heels of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich after Julian Baumgartlinger and Patrik Schick fired their team to a 3-0 win over Schalke on Sunday, plunging the bottom club deeper into crisis.

Leverkusen, unbeaten in the league this season, moved to within a point of champions Bayern by taking second place from RB Leipzig.

Schalke stayed rock bottom with their historic winless streak now at an eye-watering 26 games.

The struggling giants have not won since January, and are now just five matches away from equalling the unwanted record set by Tasmania Berlin in 1966.

Tasmania’s record of 31 games without a win has long been considered unassailable. Promoted to the top flight for political reasons, the club picked up just two wins and eight points in a famously disastrous season.

Yet Schalke, who were playing in the Champions League just two seasons ago, continued to close in on the miserable mark after their seventh defeat of the season on Sunday.

Leverkusen took the lead from a corner after just ten minutes, Malick Thiaw heading into his own net as he vied for the ball with Aleksandar Dragovic.

Nassim Boujellab found the net for Schalke on 32 minutes, but his celebrations were immediately cut short by the linesman’s flag. 

Goalkeeper Michael Langer kept a dominant Leverkusen at bay until the 67th minute, when Baumgartlinger headed in a Leon Bailey corner to double the lead.

Schalke’s night only got worse as Steven Skrzybski’s penalty was saved by Lukas Hradecky before Schick smashed in Leverkusen’s third 12 minutes from time.

– Wamangituka brace –

Earlier on Sunday, Congolese winger Silas Wamangituka scored twice to give Stuttgart a 2-1 away win over Werder Bremen.

After scoring from the spot in the first half, Wamangituka prompted a furious reaction from the Bremen players and was booked for unsportsmanlike conduct when he provocatively walked the ball into the open goal to seal the win in stoppage time.

“The way he finished was obviously disrespectful. He had a very good game and he should just tap the ball in, and not make a song and dance about it,” Bremen’s Davie Selke told Sky. 

It was a first win in six games for promoted side Stuttgart, who have nonetheless started strongly upon their return to the Bundesliga under American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo.

Matarazzo’s side now sit eighth in the table, having picked up 14 points from their first 10 games.

Wamangituka gave Stuttgart the lead just after the half-hour mark, smashing the ball in from 12 yards after Manchester United loanee Tahith Chong fouled Wataru Endo in the box.

The Congolese winger sealed the victory in stoppage time after pouncing on a mistake by goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka.

Selke nodded in a consolation goal before the final whistle, but it was too little, too late for the home side.

Bremen have not won since the first week of October, and have now dropped to 12th after a promising start to the season.

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