Bayer 04 Leverkusen regained fourth place in the Bundesliga on Sunday with a 4-1 romp at Nuremberg in their battle to retain their UEFA Champions League place next season.
Goals by Leverkusen’s Bosnian centerback Emir Spahic and Polish leftback Sebastian Boenisch canceled out Marvin Plattenhardt’s first-half equalizer as the visitors went 2-1 up soon after the break.
Leverkusen’s South Korean star Son Heung-min made sure of the victory when he sprinted clear on a counterattack and drew the defense for Spahic to tap home his second with 10 minutes left.
Former Germany international Roberto Hilbert grabbed Leverkusen’s fourth seven minutes later having come off the bench.
“We want a Champions League place and we won’t rest until we get it,” Leverkusen director of sport Rudi Voeller said.
Leverkusen lead VfL Wolfsburg by a point with just three games left to decide Germany’s fourth Champions League place after Wolves had spent 24 hours in fourth after Saturday’s 3-1 win at Hamburg SV.
Bayer enjoyed their second straight win since former Liverpool captain Sami Hyypia was sacked as coach, while Nuremberg suffered their fourth straight defeat, leaving them second from bottom.
VfB Stuttgart took a big step toward survival with a 3-1 win at home to third-placed Schalke 04 which leaves them four points above the relegation places.
Austria international striker Martin Harnik netted twice, while Germany forward Cacau also scored as Stuttgart raced into a 3-0 lead before Hungary’s Adam Szalai pulled one back for the visitors with 20 minutes left.
“We’ve shown we can fight, keep things together and beat a team who are better than us on paper,” Stuttgart coach Huub Stevens said. “That’s a step [away from relegation], but nothing more.”