It was third time lucky for Leverkusen as they finally defeated their struggling rivals Moenchengladbach with a 3-1 victory away at the Borussia Park.
USA international Michael Bradley came on as a sub for the second straight game, coming on in the 85th minute
Micharl Kadlec's stunning free-kick opened the scoring on 37 minutes before Gonzalo Castro doubled the away team's lead on the stroke of half-time. Martin Stranzl's spectacular strike reduced the deficit on 65 minutes but Castro put the result beyond doubt eight minutes later with a cheeky chipped effort.
The result follows Jupp Heynckes' men's humiliating 6-3 defeat to Gladbach back in August and another defeat to their rivals in the German cup.
Leverkusen move upto second in the table, 11 points behind leaders Dortmund while Michael Frontzeck's men remain bottom of the league.
The first half chance of the game fell to the home side on 14 minutes. A long punt into the box was met by Roman Neustaedter's head yet Stefan Reinartz failed clearance saw the ball drop at the feet of Mohamadou Idrissou who saw his tame effort from eight yards easily saved by Rene Adler.
On 24 minutes it was the hosts turn again to come close and what an effort it was from the excellent Marco Reus. Idrissou did well down the right to beat Sami Hyypia before crossing for the young attacker who let the ball bounce before hitting a superb volley from 16 yards which cannoned off the bar to safety with Adler rooted to his spot.
Two minutes later Gladbach nearly opened the scoring when Ivan de Camargo's header fell to Mike Hanke who smashed a powerful effort from 18 yards which Adler did well to hold onto.
Despite struggling to get into the game it was Leverkusen who took a surprise lead on 37 minutes. The away team won a free-kick 25 yards from goal and Michael Kadlec stepped up to curl a wonderful effort into the top right corner to leave Christofer Heimeroth rooted to the spot.
Die Werkself delivered another hammer blow to Borussia when they doubled their lead on 45 minutes. Arturo Vidal played a precise cross to the backpost and with the home side's marking all over the place Gonzalo Castro sneaked in to head the ball between the legs of the Gladbach 'keeper from six yards to give Bayer a flattering half-time lead.
The home side started the second half with a renewed sense of belief and on 54 minutes missed a glorious chance to reduce the deficit. De Camargo and co broke with pace as the Belgian international played a wonderful through-ball to new signing Hanke who unmarked smashed a shot from the edge of the area which Adler did well to turn around the post for a corner.
Die Fohlen continued to put their rivals under pressure and got their just rewards on 65 minutes with a thunderbolt of a goal, think Marco van Basten, think Martin Stranzl. Neustaedter played a clever crossfield ball out to Stranzl on the right of the box who at an angle let the ball bounce before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner for his first Moenchengladbach since joining from Spartak Moscow earlier this month.
Moenchengladbach piled on the pressure but their gung ho approach left holes at the back which Leverkusen exploited on 73 minutes. Vidal's excellent through ball played Castro one on one with Heimeroth who nonchalantly chipped the ball over the 'keeper for his second of the game.
The home side continued to look for ways back into the game and came close to scoring a second on 86 minutes when substitute Michael Bradley flicked the ball onto Karim Matmour who saw his looping header crash back off the crossbar.
Moenchengladbach travel to Frankfurt next Sunday while Leverkusen entertain fellow high-flyers Hannover on Friday evening
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