Bayer 04 Leverkusen rattled in four quality goals in thirteen second half minutes to add to a first half strike to beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 5-0 at BayArena, ending Andre Schubert's unbeaten start in charge of die Fohlen.
After yet another heartbreaking Champions League elimination on Wednesday, attention once again returned to matters domestic, and a tricky home game with Schubert's resurgent Gladbach. Roger Schmidt restored Stefan Kießling to the starting lineup at the expense of Admir Mehmedi, and it would prove to be an inspired decision.
Leverkusen were always the better side without creating much in terms of scoring chances. Hakan Calhanoglu fired forty yard free kick well over the bar, while at the other end former werkself frontman Josip Drmic drew a great save from Bernd Leno. The Swiss international flicked a cross goalwards, but Leno reacted brilliantly to keep the ball out.
Not long after, Schmidt's men had the advantage. Roberto Hilbert whipped in a fantastic cross, and Kießling headed home. Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer will feel he could have done better as the header was straights at him, but it went through his legs and into the net. Karim Bellarabi nearly doubled the lead, striking a loose ball through a crowded penalty area towards Sommer's right hand corner. However, the ball deflected off Granit Xhaka's posterior and changed the direction of the shot toward the left corner where Sommer was able to react and make the save.
Julian Korb had a good chance to level, wriggling clear of Jonathan Tah's attention, but his attempted shot with the outside of his boot ended up as a toe poke wide. Calhanoglu came within inches of doubling the lead five minutes before half time, whipping a free kick from the left directly at goal. It caught Sommer out, but crashed back off the post.
The second half started with Gladbach on the front foot. Dahoud fired wide from twenty yards, and Raffael – a half time substitute – rattled the exact same post with a free kick as the one which denied Calhanoglu. On 63 minutes, Javier Hernandez made it 2-0. Latching onto Kießling's gorgeous backheel, Chicharito Jinky past challenges before slotting calmly past Sommer with the outside of his right foot. It was exactly the sort of goal you would expect from a striker as hot as Javier is right now.
It was 3-0 within minutes as Kießling rose to thump home an emphatic header from a Calhanoglu corner. It was no more than the veteran striker deserved, and his brace were his first goals since matchday 1. Hernandez wouldn't be outdone, though, and scored a brilliant fourth, swivelling and curling in an instinctive shot which left Sommer flat footed. And the Mexican international completed his first Bundesliga hattrick, sliding in to tap into an empty net from Bellarabi's pass. Hernandez now has seventeen goals in twenty appearances since signing on deadline day, and is looking like he is already the signing of the season. Fourteen million euros? An absolute steal! And couldn't Manchester United do with him right now!
Bellarabi almost put a huge cherry on this most delectable of cakes, embarking on a superb individual run, but he dragged his shot wide.
It wouldn't matter, though. A fantastic result for all at the club, none more so than Herr Schmidt, who may have just been getting a little uncomfortable in his position (total unfounded speculation on my part), but this result should see them grow immeasurably in confidence ahead of their remaining two games of 2015; a DFB Pokal match against Unterhaching, and a Bundesliga trip to Ingolstadt.