Rampant Leverkusen smash Nuremberg to go top
Berlin: Bayer Leverkusen took over at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 4-0 mauling of struggling Nuremberg 4-0 while both Bayern Munich and defending champions Wolfsburg drew.
With Hamburg playing bottom side Hertha Berlin - who have announced Friedhelm Funkel as their new coach - on Sunday, Leverkusen blitzed Nuremberg with three first-half goals.
Bayer enjoyed a dream start when midfielder Toni Kroos netted from a direct free-kick after just two minutes with Germany midfielder Simon Rolfes adding the second from a spot-kick on 28 minutes.
Leverkusen striker Eren Derdiyok added to Nuremberg`s misery when he scored in the 34th minute before his partner up front Steffan Kiessling headed home the fourth goal on 68 minutes to give Bayer`s goal difference a boost.
"Toni Kroos` early goal helped us take control and we played some outstanding football," said Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes.
"The most important thing for me was that we didn`t take our foot off the gas after going 3-0 up.”
"It is very pleasing that the team came out in a solid and stable performance in defence, that gives us confidence for the future."
Leverkusen will stay top unless Hamburg win by three or more goals on Sunday.
Bayern were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Cologne which leaves them seventh.
"It is disappointing that we did not win," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal.
"The players worked hard, but it is very difficult to play against such a defensive side as Cologne.”
"Those ten players acted like a wall, so we needed a bit of luck and we didn`t force it. In the second half time we hardly created any chances.”
"There is still a lot of football left in the Bundesliga, it will only be decided in April or May not now."
Wolfsburg`s erratic form continues as the defending champions drew 1-1 at Bochum.
The hosts went ahead when Iran striker Vahid Hashemian netted just after the break, but Edin Dzeko scored to level for the Wolves and the point leaves them sixth.
Mainz picked up their fourth win in six games with a convincing 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim as midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz hit an early goal before Aristide Bance scored with a header on 11 minutes.
Hoffenheim grabbed a consolation goal through defender Andreas Ibertsberger but the defeat leaves them fourth.
Hanover ran riot with a 5-2 win over Freiburg after bolting out to a 2-0 lead in the opening ten minutes.
Freiburg pulled a goal back, but Hanover`s Tunisia defender Karim Haggui scored on the stroke of half-time to make it 3-1 at the break before Hanover made sure of the win in the second half.
Borussia Dortmund won 1-0 against Moenchengladbach.
On Friday, substitute Gerald Asamoah scored his first goal in over 10 months to help Schalke bounce back from losing their last two games by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0.
Schalke made sure of the three points in injury-time when Jefferson Farfan scored from the penalty spot.
The victory moved Schalke into third place.
On Sunday, Stuttgart host Werder Bremen while Hertha host Hamburg at Berlin`s Olympic Stadium.
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