Bayer Leverkusen ended their four-match winless run in the Bundesliga with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Hamburger SV at the BayArena on Sunday.
Roger Schmidt’s side, who suffered a 2-0 loss to Villarreal in midweek, looked shambolic in recent weeks having taken only one point from their last four and conceding 11 – which is more than what they conceded in their previous 11 fixtures combined.
Hamburg dominated possession in the early stages and were unlucky to fall behind in the 18th minute when Swedish international Albin Ekdal put the ball past his own goalkeeper.
Leverkusen, who started the game with Javier Hernandez alone upfront and Hakan Calhanoglu in the number 10 role, struggled to find any fluidity in their play as they were forced to take shots from long distance for most of the match.
However, Schmidt looked visibly elated after the game as his side ended the rut, which had seen them slip to seventh in the standings, after being in the top-three for most of the campaign.
Next up for Leverkusen is a Europa League clash with Villarreal on Thursday. Then on Sunday an away trip to VfB Stuttgart awaits in the Bundesliga.
As for Hamburg, they are now in 12th place. Things do get a fraction easier for them though as they host a struggling TSG 1899 Hoffenheim side on Saturday.