Berlin (AFP) – Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz denied that his job was in danger on Sunday after a disastrous defensive performance saw his side suffer a shock 3-0 defeat away to struggling Bundesliga rivals Hertha Berlin.
Deyovaisio Zeefuik’s fourth-minute screamer sparked a breathtaking first-half performance which gave Hertha hope in the relegation fight and dealt another blow to Leverkusen’s hopes of European qualification.
“It’s a very disappointing result, because we had high hopes of winning this game,” said Bosz after his side slumped to a third defeat in four games.
Asked whether he thought he would still be in a job by the end of the upcoming international break, the Dutchman replied: “Yes”.
Bosz’s team were top of the table in December but are now seven points adrift of the Champions League places after a dramatic collapse in 2021.
Hertha, meanwhile, hauled themselves out of the bottom three with Sunday’s win, returning to form after just one win in their previous 11 games.
“I told the boys at the start of the week not to look at the newspapers or the TV because we were going to go into the game in the relegation zone,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai told Sky.
“In terms of the table and our mood, this was a hugely important win.”
Dutch defender Zeefuik opened the scoring after just four minutes, curling the ball into the top left corner to score his first Bundesliga goal since joining Hertha from Groningen last year.
The capital club doubled the lead with their second shot on goal 22 minutes later, Matheus Cunha slotting the ball past Leverkusen goalkeeper Lennart Grill after a blistering counter-attack.
Leverkusen’s defence was left in tatters again just after the half-hour mark, as Jhon Cordoba squeezed the ball in after a penalty-box scramble to make it 3-0.
Dodi Lukebakio had the ball in the net early in the second half, but the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up.
– Mainz revival continues –
Fellow strugglers Mainz also broke free of the relegation spots as they continued their recent revival with a 2-1 away win at Hoffenheim.
Having spent much of the season in the drop zone, Mainz have won four of their last seven games under new boss Bo Svensson, and sit one point away from the bottom three.
“It’s a great way to go into the international break and a good finish to what has been a great run for us in recent weeks,” Mainz sporting director Martin Schmidt told broadcaster DAZN.
Mainz took the lead after just 26 seconds, as Robert Glatzel stole possession from hesitant Hoffenheim defender Chris Richards and slotted neatly past goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
Richards’ error set the tone for a miserable defensive first-half performance from Hoffenheim, who nonetheless equalised through Ihlas Bebou on 39 minutes.
Yet their relief was shortlived as another mistake at the back allowed Kohr to restore Mainz’s lead with a free header in the box two minutes later.
While Hoffenheim remain mired in mid-table, Mainz are outside the bottom three for the first time in 2021.
In Sunday’s late game, second-half goals from Roland Sallai and Philipp Lienhart sealed a 2-0 win over Augsburg to keep Freiburg in the race for Europe.
The win saw Freiburg jump to eighth, just three points adrift of Leverkusen.