Hertha Berlin’s hopes of finishing fifth were dashed by an impressive Bayer Leverkusen side that won in Tayfun Korkut’s final game in charge.
Hertha Berlin 2 Bayer Leverkusen 6
The home side were hoping to book a place in next season’s Europa League group stage but if anything it was the visitors who looked like a top-five side. Leverkusen struck after only five minutes when Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez was played through by Julian Brandt and – after hitting the post with his first dinked effort over the keeper – the Mexican gleefully tapped home his 11th goal of the season.
That was his first goal since mid-February and it set Die Werkself on their way to a first victory in seven matches. Things might have been different had Mitchell Weiser scored early into his maiden start of 2017, though. The 23-year-old dragged wide from close range on nine minutes and headed off target midway through the half.
Leverkusen were looking sharp and Kai Havertz stroked in off the post from the edge of the box just past the half hour. The 17-year-old then capped a devastating first-half display by slotting home from eight yards after Brandt found space down the left again just before the break.
Hertha improved after the interval but Stefan Kießling made it four from the penalty spot after Vladimir Darida had bundled into Charles Aranguiz before Weiser finally got a consolation goal. Chilean midfielder Aranguiz scored another penalty for 5-1 and substitute Sami Allagui scored a spot kick for Hertha in his lastgame before joining Bundesliga 2 side St. Pauli. Leverkusen sub Joel Pohjanpalo then headed home with the last touch of the match.
Man of the Match
Several Leverkusen players will be satisfied - including Aranguiz, Brandt and Hernandez - but Havertz added to his growing reputation with a brilliant first-half brace. He played a sharp one-two with Hernandez before calmly placing home his first, then timed his run to perfection for his second.
Hertha fluffed their lines on the final day but will at least return to the Europa League qualifying rounds next season. As for Leverkusen, why could they not play like this every week?
- Leverkusen have won seven of their last eight matches against Hertha. Havertz is the second-youngest player to score a Bundesliga brace after RB Leipzig's Timo Werner.Hertha conceded more goals in their last two home matches (10) than they did in the previous 15 league games at the Olympiastadion (9).
Hertha: Jarstein – Pekarik, Brooks (Langkamp 46'), Torunarigha, Plattenhardt – Darida, Allan (Skjelbred 46') – Weiser, Kalou, Esswein (Allagui 69')- Ibisevic (c)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Leverkusen: Leno - Henrichs, Jedvaj, Tah (c), Wendell (da Costa 71')- Havertz, Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger, Brandt - Chicharito (Bailey 79'), Kießling (Pohjanpalo 73')
Coach: Tayfun Korkut