Berlin (AFP) – Bayer Leverkusen climbed to third, and are on course for a direct Champions League place next season, after their 3-0 win over Bundesliga strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Kevin Kampl gave Bayer the lead on 70 minutes, just 43 seconds after coming off the bench for Leverkusen’s top scorer, Javier Hernandez, who limped off after pulling up with an injury.
The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid striker has scored 16 goals in 25 league games.
Bayer must wait to see if ‘Chicharito’ will be able to play in their remaining four league games, which include tough matches at Schalke and home to Hertha Berlin.
Leverkusen doubled their lead when Julian Brandt converted a superb cross from Germany winger Karim Bellarabi, who had sprinted away from the Frankfurt defence.
Bellarabi added a third when he hit the left-hand corner from 20 metres out with 90 minutes played, to leave Frankfurt second from bottom.
Leverkusen claim third from Hertha Berlin, who dropped one place after their 2-1 defeat at Hoffenheim.
Hertha, who are bidding for a first Champions League place since the 1999/2000 season, are winless in their last three games.
Niklas Stark’s first-half header was cancelled out by an equaliser from Hoffenheim’s Swiss defender Fabian Schaer.
Hoffenheim earned the win when Mark Uth headed home at the far post to move his side up to 13th — three points above the relegation places.
Four days after their Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Real Madrid, Wolfsburg lost again when they went down 3-2 at relegation-threatened Werder Bremen.
Having lost 3-0 in Madrid, Wolfsburg were well beaten as Claudio Pizarro scored his 102nd goal for Bremen, to become the club’s all-time top scorer, by converting a first-half penalty.
Wolfsburg’s France midfielder Josuha Guilavogui equalised before the break, but Bremen netted goals from Fin Bartels and Mali midfielder Sambou Yatabare.
Wolfsburg’s director of sport Klaus Allofs was dismissed to the stands early in the second half after arguing with the fourth official.
The visitors pulled a late goal back when Dutch striker Bas Dost powered a header home, but Wolfsburg stay eighth.
Despite the win, Bremen are in the relegation play-off place, but just three points from 11th place as things remain tight at the bottom.
Augsburg stayed just above the relegation places with a 1-0 win at home to VfB Stuttgart as Iceland striker Alfred Finnbogason scored their first-half winner with his fifth goal in 10 games.
Mid-table Darmstadt enjoyed a 2-0 win over Ingolstadt, while on Friday bottom side Hanover 96 enjoyed a 2-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach, but remain 12 points from safety with four games left.
On Saturday night, Bayern Munich can extend their seven-point lead when they host Schalke, while on Sunday second-placed Borussia Dortmund are at home to bogey side Hamburg.
Dortmund are winless in their last four league games against Hamburg and lost 3-1 away to Bruno Labbadia’s team last November.