Bayer Leverkusen chose the ideal time to produce their best performance of the season as a thumping 4-1 win at RB Leipzig put them in pole position for a top-four finish in the Bundesliga.
The visitors came from behind to secure a richly-deserved victory and move two points clear of their opponents, and Eintracht Frankfurt, in the race for the final Champions League qualifying spot.
Leverkusen boast a fine crop of young players and three of their goals came from 18-year-old Kai Havertz, 21-year-old Julian Brandt and 19-year-old Panagiotis Retsos.
Marcel Sabitzer put Leipzig in front after 17 minutes, firing a bouncing ball low into the corner from the edge of the area after a Yussuf Poulsen knockdown.
Leverkusen dominated possession and only their final ball let them down, but on the stroke of half-time they found an equaliser. Havertz raced on to a right-wing cross from Leon Bailey, who had broken away following a Leipzig corner, and sent a low volley into the net.
Heiko Herrlich’s side struck again six minutes after half-time. A long kick from goalkeeper Bernd Leno was not dealt with by the defence and Brandt ran on to the ball and stabbed home.
Substitute Retsos scored his first Bundesliga goal five minutes later, firing into the far corner after a left-wing free-kick broke to him at the far post.
Kevin Volland stroked home a low cross from the impressive Brandt for number four in the 69th minute.
There was no way back for Leipzig, who as good as admitted the game was up when they took off leading striker Timo Werner with 20 minutes to go, saving him for Thursday’s Europa League trip to Marseille.