Stefan Kießling struck his 22nd goal of the campaign to edge Leverkusen past Bremen...
Stefan Kießling struck his 22nd goal of the campaign to edge Leverkusen past Bremen...

Bayer flying high, Augsburg win to seal Fürth's fate

Munich - Bayer 04 Leverkusen condemned Werder Bremen to yet another defeat on Matchday 31, while Borussia Mönchengladbach suffered a set-back in their push for a top-four finish.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-0 Werder Bremen

The bottom of the league also had its fair share of drama, as both 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Augsburg picked up crucial wins in their bid to avoid the drop, consigning Greuther Fürth to the second tier in the process. rounds up the best of the action...

Stefan Kießling’s 22nd goal of the campaign was the difference as Bayer Leverkusen all but secured a UEFA Champions League spot for next season, piling yet more pressure on Werder Bremen in the process.

Bremen went into this encounter with just one win in their last nine games, but they were a more organised unit than that run of results suggested in the opening stages. They successfully frustrated their hosts with some disciplined pressing and the home crowd began to grow frustrated. That brave resistance was broken on 35 minutes, though, as Kießling tucked home from the spot after Sebastian Mielitz’s foul on Sidney Sam.

Leno alert

The crowd had been lifted by the goal and a Michal Kadlec free-kick early in the second half caused havoc in the box, before Philipp Wollscheid missed an open goal after Kießling’s knock-back. The defender was then a very relieved man indeed, as he was caught in possession by Zlatko Junuzovic and goalkeeper Bernd Leno came to his rescue.

As long as there was just a goal's difference between the sides, Bremen retained hope of salvaging something, but they were kept at bay by a solid Bayer defence. Aaron Hunt went close on a couple of occasions, but there was no beating Leno and the result means Bremen are still not safe from the drop.

Line-ups and statistics

VfL Wolfsburg 3-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Wolfsburg produced a fluid display to beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 and dent the Foals' hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

The home side had thrashed Bremen in their last match, but found themselves under the cosh in the opening period. Gladbach’s Patrick Herrmann was sent clean trough just five minutes in but scuffed his shot wide, before Mike Hanke failed to convert a Juan Arango cross. Those proved costly misses, as Maximilian Arnold fired in a shot that deflected off Roel Brouwers for the opener, the 18-year-old’s third in as many games.

Diego-Olic show

Gladbach were unperturbed by the scoreline at the break and it took them just seven minutes of the second half to get back on level terms, as Mlapa kept his cool to finish through Diego Benaglio’s legs. Parity did not last long, however, as Olic ran on to Diego’s neat through ball to fire an angled drive through Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Lucien Favre's men hesitantly began to commit men forward in search of another equaliser, and Hanke shot wide from a good position. The home side simply possessed more quality, however, and scored a delightful third when Olic returned the favour to Diego, who rounded the keeper and slid home to seal an excellent win.

Line-ups and statistics

1899 Hoffenheim 2-1 1. FC Nuremberg

Hoffenheim kept the pressure on Augsburg in the relegation play-off spot with a well-earned 2-1 win against Nuremberg.

The home side hit the ground running, Fabian Johnson forcing Club keeper Raphael Schäfer into action for the first time after all of 32 seconds and Roberto Firmino firing just wide on the full not long after that. With eleven minutes on the clock, 1899 went in front as Tobias Weis slotted home following excellent work down the right from Andreas Beck, Firmino and Johnson.

Lifeline for Nuremberg

Markus Gisdol's side pressed straight on in search of a second and not long after Johnson had arrowed a long-range effort just wide, they got it, Sejad Salihovic taking flight on 19 minutes to power home Kevin Volland's cross from the right. Firmino then passed up the chance to bury number three after being perfectly teed up from the right, after which the clear-cut chances dried up for the rest of a half the home side had well under control.

It looked like being more of the same after the restart, an unmarked Volland nodding Firmino's teasing cross inches wide for starters. But in the 57th minute, Koen Casteels handed Nuremberg a potential lifeline, the Hoffenheim custodian bundling over youngster Niklas Stark, a second-half sub, to give the visitors a penalty. Timmy Simons rattled it home and it was suddenly game on again, but as it transpired, the Franconians remained largely toothless up front as Hoffenheim made important ground on the teams above them.

Line-ups and statistics

FC Augsburg 3-0 VfB Stuttgart

Three second-half goals secured Augsburg a vital victory over Stuttgart to take them level on points with fourth-bottom Fortuna Düsseldorf ,ahead of the latter's game against Borussia Dortmund, and maintain their four-point advantage over Hoffenheim.

The game got off to a fast and furious start at both ends, Sascha Mölders miscuing a half-chance for the hosts inside a couple of minutes and Martin Harnik just failing to connect with Alexandru Maxim's lay-off in direct response. After that, it was the hosts who increasingly dominated proceedings, with VfB limited to the odd but nonetheless dangerous counterattack.

Mölders gets things rolling

The first chance after the restart fell to Stuttgart four minutes in, Maxim teeing up Harnik for a header that pulled a good save out of home keeper Alex Manninger. The next was Augsburg's, but Mölders was unable to take it in the 57th minute. Four minutes later, though, the FCA marksman was back in the scoring groove, meeting Tobias Werner's corner with a header back across the face of goal and past Ulreich, who had remained on his line. It was Mölders' tenth Bundesliga goal of the season and his first in ending a 607 minutes.

A snap-shot from Daniel Baier, saved by Ulreich, a crossbar-shaving header from Dong-Won Ji and another vital Ulreich stop one-on-one against Werner all followed as Augsburg sought to make the result safe. Then came the grand finale as Marcel De Jong, just a minute off the bench, pulled an inch-perfect lob out of the hat to beat Ulreich from distance. A couple of minutes on from that, Augsburg put the result beyond any remaining doubt as Hahn intercepted a loose pass and crossed for Ji to finish the job in style.

Line-ups and statistics