Robin Dutt's men were undone from set pieces as the visiting side drew an end to its losing streak.
First half goals from Daniel Didavi and Jens Hegeler followed by a late strike from Tomas Pekhart gave the strugglers a well earned win.
It was the Nurnberg that started the match on top, and Christian Eigler had already sent a header wide by the time Didavi gave the Barvarian outfit the lead, latching on to a measured through ball from Eigler to send a shot past the sprawling Bernd Leno.
The dust had barely settled when the home side found itself two down. Plattenhardt sent in a corner that eluded everyone except Hegeler, who swept the ball into the net to double his side's advantage.
Despite the deficit, Leverkusen gradually began to create chances. Andre Schurrle forced a decent save from Raphael Schafer with a shot from distance, before the 32-year-old was called into action to deny Eren Derdiyok from point blank range before miraculously scrambling across the goal mouth to Michael Ballack's rebound.
After the restart, Leverkusen attacked with renewed vigor. Derdiyok and Schurrle got themselves into threatening positions, only to fluff their lines and not pose Schafer any real problems.
Meanwhile, Ballack and Sidney Sam both came close from distance, but for all its meticulous approach play, the home side's productivity let it down.
As time wore on, the away team topped off the win with Pekhart meeting another Plattenhardt corner at the near post to send his side into a three-goal lead.
Almog Cohen missed a half-chance to make it four, but it was of little consequence as the full time whistle drew an end to the match soon after.