Leverkusen rally to overcome Hoffenheim, seal Champions League berth

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Third placed Bayer Leverkusen came from behind twice and snatched a 4-2 victory over Hoffenheim thanks to the brace from top striker Patrik Schick in the 33rd round of Bundesliga.

With the result, Bayer Leverkusen booked their berth for the coming UEFA Champions League season.

Hoffenheim assumed control from the kick but had to wait until the 22nd minute on Saturday night as Christoph Baumgartner dispossessed Piero Hincapie near Leverkusen’s box before teeing up for Georginio Rutter, who hammered home the opener from 13 metres.

Uninspired Leverkusen needed some time to recover but restored parity out of thin air as Moussa Diaby’s pinpoint cross into the box allowed Schick to head home from seven metres in the 34th minute. Hoffenheim remained unimpressed and took the lead again two minutes later after Baumgartner nodded Pavel Kaderabek’s cross past Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, Xinhua reports.

After the restart, both teams started with their guns blazing as Schick and Robert Andrich tested Hoffenheim custodian Oliver Baumann in quick succession before Hradecky had to defuse a dangerous header from Munas Dabbur at the other end of the pitch.

Leverkusen eventually turned their chances into a tangible reward in the 73rd minute when Schick’s through ball found Diaby, who got his name on the scoreboards after beating Baumann into the top right corner.

The ‘Werkself’ gained momentum and completed their comeback three minutes later as Schick wrapped up his brace after finishing off a solo run through Hoffenheim’s defence.

Leverkusen still weren’t done with the scoring and made it 4-2 in the closing stages as Lucas Alario finished the job following a counterattack.

“We saw a shy first half from my team, but the second half was sensational as we pushed forward in search of goals,” said Leverkusen head coach Gerado Seoane.

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund sealed their runners-up finish after seeing off relegated Greuther Furth 3-1 courtesy of Julian Brandt’s double strike.

Union Berlin will play in Europe next season as the ‘Eisernen’ shocked in-form Freiburg 3-1 on home soil.

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