Bayer Leverkusen have kept Champions League hopes high following their 3-0 win. The victory sees them move to fourth place, just three points behind third place Hertha BSC, who face Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday.
There was even more positive news for Leverkusen, with their captain Lars Bender and summer signing Charles Aranguiz both making returns from injury.
As for VfL Wolfsburg, this defeat keeps them in eighth place and all but calls an end to their hopes of another year of Champions League football. Unless, of course, they are able to get past Real Madrid in the quarter-finals and go on to win the competition.
Brandt’s purple patch continues
Bayer wasted no time at all to record their first attempt on goal, it took just three minutes. Karim Bellarabi received the ball from Hakan Calhanoglu and fired straight down the throat of the Wolfsburg shot-stopper, Diego Benaglio, sending warning signs early on.
After a bright start to the half, the game calmed down, leading both teams to battle for possession. It wasn't until the 27th minute when Calhanoglu was once again involved in the play. After some incredible link-up play with Julian Brandt, the latter tucked the ball away in the bottom left corner to give Leverkusen a 1-0 lead. The goal came as Brandt’s third in 2016, keeping up his amazing recent form.
Not much action followed Brandt’s goal, with just one more chance falling to the young German, cutting in from the left wing and forcing a save out of Benaglio at his near post.
Leverkusen turn it up a notch
Schmidt’s men began the second half full of confidence, creating their first chance in the 49th minute. Once again Calhanoglu and Brandt combined, this time the Turk's curling effort went just shy of the right hand corner of Wolfsburg’s goal. The Wolves received their first clear cut chance of the game in the 70th minute, with Marcel Schäfer’s effort from the middle of Leverkusen’s box fired straight at Bernd Leno.
Leverkusen finally put the game to bed just a few minutes later. Substitute and die Werkself’s leading goal-scorer, Javier Hernandez, picked the ball up on the left hand side of Wolfsburg’s box and curled an emphatic strike into the bottom right corner of the goal, bouncing in off the inside of the post. The goal was Chicharito’s 15th league strike of the season.
Schmidt’s men went on to rub salt into the already open wounds of Wolfsburg, following their 1-1 draw to Köln and 3-0 defeat to Schalke. In the 87th minute, Ukrainian youngster, Vladlen Yurchenko released another incredible strike from the edge of Wolfsburg’s box, leaving Benaglio standing as the ball worked its way into the bottom right-hand corner.
Wolfsburg go on to face Real Madrid next in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with Bayer Leverkusen making a visit to close rivals, 1. FC Köln.