Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Hertha BSC: Calhanoglu stars as the hosts gain vital win after winter break
The Leverkusen players celebrating Toprak's opening goal at the BayArena (Picture source: Bundesliga)

Bayer Leverkusen got their season back on track on Sunday afternoon as they defeated Hertha BSC 3-1 at the BayArena to move up to eighth in the Bundesliga table.

Ömer Toprak gave the hosts an early lead in the first half before a controversial penalty scored by Hakan Calhanoglu nine minutes before half time doubled the lead.

Valentin Stocker halved the deficit just before half time to give the visitors some hope ahead of the second half.

It didn't matter though as the hosts wrapped the game up with two minutes to go when Calhanoglu scored his second goal of the game to give Roger Schmidt the perfect start after the winter break.

Toprak's opener gave the hosts the early advantage

Straight away from kick off it was clear that the hosts wanted to get off to a fast start and take the game to their visitors.

It worked as they took the lead 12 minutes in when a free kick from Calhanoglu wasn't cleared properly by the visitors and the ball fell to Toprak, who poked the ball into the net to give the hosts the perfect start.

The visitors were barely in the game in the early stages with only Vedad Ibisevic having a chance for the visitors but he put his shot over the bar from the edge of the box when he should have at leats hit the target.

Calhanoglu doubled the host's lead from the penalty spot

The hosts continued to look threatening all half and they managed to get a second goal with they broke at pace with Julian Brandt at the heart of it, as his cross at the end was handled in the box by Marvin Plattenhardt and referee Tobias Stieler pointed to the spot much to surprise of the visiting players.

Calhanoglu stepped up to take the penalty and placed the ball into the back of the net passed a helpless Rune Jarstein, who couldn't do much with either of the goals.

Stocker handed the visitors some hope at half time

Just as it looked like the hosts were going to go into half time with their two goal lead in tact, out of nothing the visitors got a goal back.

From a corner, John Brooks forced Bernd Leno into a great save from a headed but Stocker was their on the rebound to tap the ball into the back of the net to give the visitors some hope at half time.

Both teams missed big chances throughout the second half

The visitors hope almost diminished straight away in the second half as a Javier Hernandez's strike from inside the box just went wide of the post with the goalkeeper beaten.

The Mexican went close again soon after as he headed the ball towards goal from a corner but Plattenhardt was their on the line to clear the ball away.

After these chances the game became more even and with fifteen minutes to go, somehow the visitors didn't manage to get back on level terms.

Genki Haraguchi, on as a second half substitute, played a great cross into the box which found Ibisevic unmarked at the back post. With the goal at his mercy he somehow saw his shot saved by the impressive Leno, who showed why many clubs are looking at him.

Calhanoglu's second goal wrapped up the points for the hosts

The miss proved costly as just before the end of the game, the hosts wrapped up the three points when Kevin Kampl crossed the ball into the box and Calhanoglu volleyed the ball into the top corner of the net.

It meant that the result was in no doubt as the hosts got the three points that they so desparately needed in order to move up the league table.