Bayer 04 Leverkusen strengthened their claim for UEFA Champions League football next season while practically ending VfL Wolfsburg's with a 3-0 win at the BayArena.
Leverkusen had the edge in the early exchanges with Wolfsburg taking a cautious approach, which saw them punished in the 27th minute. Brandt exchanged passes with Halkan Calhanoglu, allowing the 19-year-old to sweep the ball low past Diego Benaglio for his fifth of the season. Brandt again tested Benaglio before the break, with Wolfsburg mustering up little threat in the final third in the opening 45 minutes.
Calhanoglu curled an effort past the post early in the second half before Leverkusen nearly shot themselves in the foot, gifting Josuha Guilavogui a shot on goal from long range as Bernd Leno scampered back between his posts to gather. Leverkusen subsequently turned up the heat with substitute Javier Hernandez twice denied by Benaglio. However, it was a case of third time luck for the Mexican, who picked his spot from the edge of the area to smash an effort in off the far post. Vladlen Yurchenko drilled in a third to finish the Wolves off, and there was even time for Charles Aranguiz to come on for his debut on a night to remember for Die Werkself.
Man of the match
Jet lag? What jet lag? He may have only returned from international duty on Thursday, but 'Chicharito' was again the star man for Leverkusen, coming off the bench to score and assist the goals that put the game beyond Wolfsburg's reach.
As VfL Wolfsburg prepare for their historic first Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid in midweek, the chances of them participating in that competition again next season are looking increasingly slim. This defeat leaves them potentially nine points off fourth place with six games to go.
- Brandt scored in consecutive games for the first time this season, moving on to a personal best of five for a single campaign.
- Leverkusen have won all 13 games this season in which they took the lead.
- Wolfsburg have now gone 39 games without winning when they have fallen behind in a match.
Leverkusen: Leno - Jedvaj, Tah, Ramalho, Wendell – Bender (c) (61' Hernandez), Kramer - Bellarabi, Brandt – Calhanoglu (64' Yurchenko) – Kießling (88' Aranguiz)
Wolfsburg: Benaglio (c) – Träsch (46' Bruno Henrique), Knoche (82' Ascues), Dante, R. Rodriguez - Guilavogui, Arnold - Vieirinha, Draxler, Schürrle – Kruse (63' Schäfer)