Marvin Plattenhardt's first-half equaliser was about as good as it got for the Franconian hosts, with Sebastian Boenisch and Roberto Hilbert joining Leverkusen's unlikely two-goal hero Emir Spahic on the scoresheet at the disconsolate Grundig-Stadion.
Forced to change his defensive line for the 13th time this season, Gertjan Verbeek was facing an uphill task long before the game got under way. That hill resembled more of a mountain when Spahic rifled a volley past the unsighted Raphael Schäfer from just outside the penalty area just 16 minutes in.
Things nearly turned worse for Nürnberg when a perilous low cross from Julian Brandt was scooped over his own crossbar by Martin Angha, before Jose Campana showed the first sign of life with a shot which sailed narrowly wide of the left-hand upright.
Bayer's defence comes good
Nürnberg levelled when Plattenhardt's curling free-kick whistled into the far corner for his first goal of the season, but the better chances continued to come at the other end, with only the post thwarting Ömer Toprak and Boenisch blazing over.
The pressure soon told, however, as Leverkusen caught the hosts cold just after the break as Boenisch latched on to Toprak's cute pass to tuck away his first goal of the season.
Spahic at the double
Emre Can wasted two good chances to make it three, before Heung-Min Son's shot was pushed behind by Schäfer. The Nürnberg goalkeeper denied the South Korean once again, this time with his leg, but there was nothing he could do to thwart Leverkusen's next attack as Son raced the full length of the field to tee up Spahic for the Bosnian's second of the afternoon.
Son was involved again as Leverkusen made it four, with Schäfer fumbling the South Korean's strike straight into the path of Hilbert, who put the result beyond any further doubt to leave Nürnberg floundering in the bottom two with only three games of the season left to play.
Line-ups and statistics