Survival hopes: Hertha thrash Leverkusen, Mainz out of bottom three

By Derek Wilson, dpa

Hertha Berlin cruised to a 3-0 home win over hopeless Bayer Leverkusen to boost their survival hopes just hours after Mainz left the Bundesliga bottom three by winning at Hoffenheim.

Deyovaisio Zeefuik’s super strike on four minutes set the tone in the capital and further first half goals from Matheus Cunha and Jhon Cordoba left Leverkusen reeling.

Hertha, who now have two wins in three after a nine-match streak without victory, had fallen to 17th when Mainz triumphed 2-1 at Hoffenheim but are now back to 14th albeit just two points above second last Arminia Bielefeld.

“We are on a good path,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai told Sky. “From the view of the table it was an important victory for us.”

After the international break, Hertha resume away to city rivals Union Berlin. “It would have been really bad to go into the break with a defeat,” said Dardai.

Leverkusen could have gone fifth with a clear victory but remain sixth and seven points off the fourth and final Champions League place. The defeat leaves them with one win in six league games and heaps pressure on coach Peter Bosz.

Poor Leverkusen defending was immediately punished though Zeefuik’s curling shot into the far top corner from the edge of the box was unstoppable.

Cunha ended a 13-game goal drought with a low drive and Cordoba turned in the box to make it three as the visitors threatened to fall apart.

“We’re very disappointed,” said Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah. “In my opinion, we didn’t play as a team, especially in the first half – neither on the defensive end, nor in the attack.”

Bosz replied with a short “yes,” when asked if he would be on the Leverkusen bench for their next game against Schalke.

“If you want to win in football you have to score goals and prevent goals,” he said of the loss. “We didn’t do either well today.”

Leverkusen are only three points clear of Freiburg, who moved eighth with a 2-0 win over Augsburg in the final game of the weekend.

Earlier, Robert Glatzel robbed Bayern Munich loanee Chris Richards to score less than a minute into his starting debut for Mainz and Dominik Kohr headed the 41st minute winner shortly after Ihlas Bebou levelled for midtable Hoffenheim.

At the halfway stage of the season Mainz were second-last with seven points, the same as Schalke, and 10 adrift from outright safety.

But they are now up to 15th, below Hertha on goal difference, for the first time since November and one point clear of Cologne in the play-off spot.

“That sounds good but we can’t take anything for granted,” Glatzel told DAZN. “It’s just a nice snapshot.

“If we believe now that we’ve done it, we’ll fly straight to the bottom again.”

Leaders Bayern Munich crushed VfB Stuttgart 4-0 on Saturday to maintain a four-point advantage over RB Leipzig, who they visit on April 3 after the international break.

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