BERLIN Bayer Leverkusen bounced back after a recent bad run to beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 on Sunday and celebrate a winning debut for new coach Sascha Lewandowski.
Leverkusen, who sacked coach Sami Hyypia last week after only one win in their previous nine league games, got off to a strong start, grabbing a first minute lead through Stefan Kiessling's 15th league goal of the season.
Julian Brandt gave them a two-goal cushion after Son Heung-min's well-timed pass in the box.
Hertha, without top striker Adrian Ramos, came back before the break, cutting the deficit with Sandro Wagner's header but rarely threatened in the second half as Lewandowski celebrated a successful start.
Leverkusen reclaimed fourth place that leads to the Champions League qualifying rounds with four games left in the season, a point ahead of VfL Wolfsburg.
Champions Bayern Munich slumped to a 3-0 defeat by second-placed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday to see their lead cut to 17 points with Dortmund three points clear of second-placed Schalke 04.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)