29.10.2018 14:33 h

Five things we learnt in the Bundesliga

Bayern Munich's away win at Mainz lifted them up to second in the Bundesliga table as their five closest rivals all failed to pick up three points at the weekend.

English teenager Jadon Sancho continues to shine for leaders Borussia Dortmund with two goals in their 2-2 draw at home to Hertha Berlin.

Here are five things we learnt about the Bundesliga this weekend:

"Thiago or nothing!" was Pep Guardiola's single demand at the start of his three-year reign as Bayern's head coach in 2013 and sure enough, Thiago Alcantara was signed for 25 million euros ($28.5m) from Barcelona.

Thiago's well-timed slide into the penalty area on Saturday saw the midfielder score to seal Bayern's crucial 2-1 win at Mainz.

It was his first goal of the season and the win moved Bayern up to second in the table and halved Dortmund's lead to two points.

It was a far from polished display and after Leon Goretzka gave Bayern a first-half lead, sloppy defending allowed Mainz to equalise before Thiago's winner.

"We are making life hard for ourselves, especially when we concede a goal just after the break," admitted right-back Joshua Kimmich.

"We certainly didn't set off any fireworks with that performance."

However, sparks are expected to fly when Bayern play Dortmund away in a fortnight.

Dortmund threw away two points on Saturday, and the chance for a seventh straight win, when Hertha Berlin forward Salomon Kalou converted a 91st-minute penalty to seal a 2-2 draw.

Dortmund lived dangerously in the final ten minutes as Berlin pair Davie Selkie and Kalou both had clear chances before the spot-kick in added time.

"We were naive in the last ten minutes," admitted Dortmund captain Marco Reus.

Sancho, 18, was again outstanding. In nine league games, he has played a hand in 11 goals, scoring four and setting up seven more.

The English teenager took over the scoring duties from injured Paco Alcacer, Dortmund's striker who has hit seven goals in four league games.

Having beaten Bayern in Berlin and earned a draw at Dortmund on Saturday, Hertha are sixth in the table and punching above their weight under head coach Pal Dardai.

However, their fans let the club down at Dortmund when 200 'Ultras' went on the rampage in the away block, where fighting with police resulted in 45 casualties.

"This is a day which damages football and our club," said Hertha manager Michael Preetz.

Hertha are working with police to identify those responsible and the German Football Association (DFB) are investigating.

Freiburg striker Lucas Hoeler scored a freak goal from 45 metres in Friday's shock 3-1 win over third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach - which he admitted practising.

When Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer made a late clearance kick to the right of his own box, the ball fell to Hoeler near the halfway line and the 24-year-old fired into an empty net.

Hoeler revealed he had practised shooting from distance at former club Sandhausen.

"As a bit of a joke, the coach used to let us practise shooting with dropped kicks from the halfway line after training," said Hoeler.

"I knew I had to control the ball and fire it straight in or Sommer would have had time to get back.

"I worried that he might stop it, so I was delighted it went in."

Bayer Leverkusen's 6-2 thumping of Werder Bremen on Sunday probably saved head coach Heiko Herrlich from the sack.

"I hope the result will perk us up," Herrlich said after his team's first league win for a month pulled them away from the bottom three.

"Whether this game consolidated my position? I am the wrong person to ask."

Leverkusen's fleet-footed forwards Kevin Volland, Karim Bellarabi, Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt, who each scored, were all outstanding.

A German Cup second-round match at Moenchengladbach on Wednesday and a home league clash against Hoffenheim on Saturday will show whether the romp in Bremen was a fluke - and whether Herrlich's job is truly safe.