Leverkusen slump to defeat at Hertha to drop out of top four

Slideshow ( 6 images )

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen suffered a damaging 2-0 loss at Hertha Berlin on Saturday that all but killed off their chances of a spot in next season’s Champions League as they dropped to fifth place in the Bundesliga standings.

Leverkusen, who had to win to stay in front of Borussia Moenchengladbach going into the last matchday next week, had the hosts on the back foot from the start and went close through Kevin Volland and Kai Havertz.

The Berliners were clearly struggling with Leverkusen’s speed down the wings but they struck against the run of play with a quick break and a finish by Matheus Cunha, who earned his fifth goal in his 10th league game in the 22nd minute.

They scored again nine minutes after the restart just as Leverkusen looked to have recovered from the first goal, with a superb solo run by Krzysztof Piatek and Dodi Lukebakio easy finish.

Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz brought on two more strikers, Paulinho and Lucas Alario, in the second half but Hertha hung on to secure three points and moved up to 10th place.

“The disappointment is huge,” Bosz said. “After a good start we did not play good football. We had too few chances and the only thing we can do now is win our next game.”

“Then we will have to wait and see what the other clubs do.”

Leverkusen are fifth on 60 points with Gladbach on 62 following their 3-1 win over Paderborn. RB Leipzig are third on 63 after losing 2-0 to second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar