Bundesliga wrap: Kiessling steers Leverkusen home
Bayer Leverkusen consolidated second place with a commanding 3-0 victory at home to Hamburg on Saturday.
German international Stefan Kiessling was the pick of the Leverkusen players, netting a goal in each half, while Andre Schuerrle also got himself on the scoresheet at BayArena on Saturday.
Leverkusen went into the match on the back of a 3-2 defeat to Hannover but the result was never in doubt as Sami Hyypia's side dominated from the opening whistle.
The hosts took the lead on 26 minutes, with Kiessling sending the ball past Rene Adler after being played in by Gonzalo Castro.
Hamburg almost equalised from the restart but failed to beat goalkeeper Bernd Leno and they were made to pay for their inability in the attacking third as Schuerrle made it 2-0 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
With just over an hour played, Kiessling completed the scoring, chipping the ball over a helpless Adler as Leverkusen closed the gap on Bundesliga ladder-leaders Bayern Munich to nine points.
Surprise-packet Eintracht Frankfurt remain three points behind Leverkusen after they recorded a routine 2-0 win over lowly Wolfsburg.
Alexander Meier, the league's leading goal scorer, opened the scoring in the 12th minute, taking his season tally to 11 goals before Takashi Inui wrapped up the points six minutes later.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Mainz overcame a one-goal deficit to beat Stuttgart 3-1 thanks to a second-half brace from Nicolai Mueller.
Promoted outfit Fortuna Dusseldorf created some distance between themselves and the relegation zone following their 2-1 triumph against Hannover, while basement sides Greuther Fuerth and Augsburg played out a 1-1 draw.
Schalke's slump continued, Huub Stevens' side crashing to 3-1 home reverse to Freiburg, their third Bundesliga defeat in five games.