Bayer 04 Leverkusen need to deliver an immediate response to their weekend defeat at 1. FSV Mainz 05 if they are to keep up the pressure in the race for a top-four finish when they host struggling SV Werder Bremen on Wednesday (kick-off 20:00CET/19:00GMT).
A Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez goal was not enough to prevent Die Werkself from falling behind Mainz in the standings after a 3-1 defeat on Matchday 23, but they fortunately do not have long to dwell on that defeat as the fixtures continue to come thick and fast for a side who are in action again in the UEFA Europa League next week.
Opponents Werder showed plenty of fighting spirit to come from behind at home to SV Darmstadt 98 and grab a crucial point, but they are still in the relegation play-off berth with the bottom two also closing in, which is why every point counts at this stage of the season.
Leverkusen turned on the style in the second half to ease past Bremen.
Matchday 24 - match facts
- Leverkusen have already lost more games this season (eight) than in the whole of last season (seven).
- No team is on a longer winless run in the Bundesliga at present than Bremen (five).
- Bremen have failed to pick up a single point in midweek games this season.
- These two teams met in the DFB Cup in February, with Bremen winning 3-1.
- Only Robert Lewandowski has scored more goals in the second half of the season than Claudio Pizarro, who has scored five.
- Karim Bellarabi and Hakan Calhanoglu have scored just two goals each this season – at the same stage of last season, they had nine and five to their names respectively.
- Chicharito scored 14 goals in his first 19 Bundesliga games – the last player to manage that was Marek Mintal over 11 years ago.
Leverkusen: Leno - Jedvaj, Tah, Ramalho, Wendell - Kramer, Calhanoglu - Bellarabi, Brandt, Mehmedi - Hernandez
Absentees: Papadopoulos (knee) Toprak (muscular), Aranguiz (light training), L. Bender (light training), Kampl (fractured fibula), Kießling (hip)
Bremen: Wiedwald - Gebre Selassie, Galvez, Djilobodji, Garcia - Vestergaard - Yatabaré, Grillitsch - Junuzovic - Ujah, Pizarro
Absentees: Bargfrede (knee) Fritz (ankle), Johannsson (light training)