Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Sunday cruised past bottom-of-the-table Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-0 to keep themselves in a tight Bundesliga title race.
A first-half header from Kai Havertz, followed by a second-half goal from captain Lars Bender and a penalty from Lucas Alario ensured the win and fifth place, six points behind league leaders RB Leipzig.
The visitors remained rooted to the foot of the table.
Havertz was the hosts’ most dangerous man and he headed a Karim Bellarabi cross beyond the grasp of Florian Kastenmeier to give the hosts the lead in the 40th minute.
Captain Lars Bender doubled their lead with 11 minutes remaining, tapping home Kerem Demirbay’s looping corner.
Lucas Alario made it 3-0 from the penalty spot in the final minutes, sending Kastenmeier the wrong way after Nadiem Amiri was brought down in the area.
“We played well and had good chances. We’re satisfied with the win,” Havertz said. “I always feel good when I score a goal and I feel good when I play a good game.”
Earlier, Werder Bremen sank further into relegation trouble after slumping to a 3-0 home defeat to Europe-chasing TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
A Davy Klaassen own-goal in the 65th minute was followed up by strikes from Christoph Baumgartner and Sargis Adamyan for the away side to subject Bremen to their fifth defeat in six matches.
The loss leaves the hosts in the Bundesliga’s relegation playoff place on 17 points, one behind FSV Mainz 05 in 16th place.
“We played a really good away game today, the boys defended with discipline,” Hoffenheim manager Alfred Schreuder said. “In the end, we deserved to win — this is a very important victory for us.”
Hoffenheim — who are up to seventh, two points away from the UEFA Europa League spots — were initially kept at bay by a Bremen side determined to keep a clean sheet for the second time this season.
Bremen managed to stifle Hoffenheim until Stefan Posch got his head to the ball at a corner, with Klaassen’s attempted clearance landing in his own net.
It was a demoralizing goal to concede for Bremen, who went two down 14 minutes later when Baumgartner’s superb back-heel floated over the head of goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka.
A third followed just four minutes later, Andrej Kramaric finding Adamyan in the penalty area.
The Armenian’s deflected shot gave Pavlenka no chance and sealed Hoffenheim’s third win in four matches.
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