Kai Havertz, Lucas Alario and Julian Brandt secure Champions League spot for Bayer Leverkusen
Kai Havertz became the first teenager to reach 17 goals in a single Bundesliga season and Lucas Alario hit a hat-trick as Bayer Leverkusen saw off Hertha Berlin to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League.
Hertha Berlin 1-5 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 Havertz (28'), 1-1 Lazaro (34'), 1-2 Alario (38'), 1-3 Brandt (54'), 1-4 Alario (72'), 1-5 Alario (88')
Hertha made a bright start at the Olympiastadion, but Leverkusen had the best early chance as Wendell unleashed a piledriver from distance, which Thomas Kraft tipped brilliantly over the bar. The Hertha keeper was at fault for the opening goal, though, staying rooted to his line as Jonathan Tah clipped a long ball into the path of Havertz, who had all the time in the world to volley in his record-breaking effort. The hosts got a rather scrappy equaliser shortly afterwards, with Valentino Lazaro applying the finishing touch to Ondrej Duda's shot after good work from Vedad Ibisevic, but Alario got Leverkusen back in front by half-time, latching onto Wendell's inch-perfect through ball and scooping it over the onrushing Kraft.
Bayer continued to dominate in the second half, with Alario almost getting on the end of a wicked Mitchell Weiser cross. Julian Brandt put the result beyond all doubt on 54 minutes with a superb third goal, curling into the top corner from distance after being set up by Charles Aranguiz. Hertha's hearts were never really in it from that point onwards, and Leverkusen were able to round out their campaign on a high note with two more goals from Alario. The Argentine headed in from close range and then swept home a cross from substitute Lars Bender to grab his first Bundesliga hat-trick. More importantly, Peter Bosz's side leapfrogged Borussia Mönchengladbach to move into the top four for the first time all campaign, and ensure their return to the Champions League after a two-season absence.
Watch: Kai Havertz, Europe's best young midfielder
- Havertz is the first teenager in Bundesliga history to score 17 goals in a single season.
- The 19-year-old opened the scoring nine times in 2018/19, more than any other player in the German top flight.
- Lazaro scored his first goal since Hertha's 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim on 24 November. All three of his strikes this season came on home soil.
- Alario netted six of his nine goals this term in the last five games of the season. This was his first Bundesliga hat-trick.
- Six of Brandt's seven goals came in the second half of the season, including three in his final four outings.
- Bayer are the first Bundesliga team to qualify for the Champions League despite conceding over 50 goals.
Hertha: Kraft – Klünter (Mittelstädt 45'+2), Lustenberger (c), Rekik, Plattenhardt – Skjelbred (Dilrosun 46'), Grujic – Lazaro, Duda, Kalou – Ibisevic (Köpke 73')
Unused subs: Smarsch, Pekarik, Torunarigha, Selke
Out: Palk. Dardai (ankle), Darida (knee), Jarstein (knee), Leckie (ankle), Maier (knee), Stark (ankle)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser (Kohr 81'), Tah, S. Bender (Dragovic 59'), Wendell – Aranguiz (L. Bender 75'), Baumgartlinger, Brandt – Havertz, Alario, Volland (c)
Unused subs: Özcan, Paulinho, Kiese Thelin, Jedvaj
Out: Bailey (thigh), Bellarabi (thigh), Pohjanpalo (ankle)
Coach: Peter Bosz
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