Leverkusen crush newly-promoted Stuttgart

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BERLIN, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Bayer Leverkusen returned to winning ways after Kerem Demibay's first-half brace helped to sink Stuttgart 5-2 in the 20th round in Bundesliga on Saturday.

From the kick-off, Leverkusen staged a highly motivated performance and poured forward whereas Stuttgart needed some time to gain a foothold into the clash.

However, just when Stuttgart was about to take the reins, Leverkusen scored the opener after Demirbay poked home a rebound from very close range in the 18th minute.

Stuttgart was shocked while Leverkusen gained momentum and sieged the visitor's territory.

Leverkusen's effort was eventually rewarded with 31 minutes played when Demirbay nutmegged Stuttgart goalkeeper Gregor Kobel following a one-on-one to wrap up his brace.

Hapless Stuttgart was lucky though as neither Patrik Schick nor Charles Aranguiz was able to extend the lead despite promising opportunities before halftime.

After the restart, Stuttgart turned up and was able to halve the deficit five minutes into the second half when Erik Thommy's through ball allowed Sasa Kalajdzic to chip the ball over onrushing Lukas Hradecky.

Stuttgart gained the upper hand and pressed Leverkusen into its own territory as Silas Wamangituka tested Hradecky from a tight angle before Kalajdzic had a shot blocked inside the box.

Leverkusen remained unfazed and restored its two-goal lead in the 56th minute when Leon Bailey finished off a counterattack following a Stuttgart corner.

The hosts assumed control and made it four as Florian Wirtz headed home Moussa Diaby's cross to complete another counterattack in the 68th minute.

Resilient Stuttgart kept it bowling and reduced the arrears again after Kalajdzic made the most of Thommy's build up nine minutes later.

Peter Bosz's men had the last laugh though as Demarai Gray curled a loose ball from the edge of the box into the far post corner to round off the 5-2 victory on home soil.

With the result, Bayer Leverkusen jumps back into the top four after recording its 10th win of the season while Stuttgart suffered its seventh defeat to stay in 10th.

Elsewhere, Leipzig defended second place in the standings after increasing Schalke's relegation worries following a 3-0 win.

Freiburg's second-half goals from Woo-Yeong Jeong and Jonathan Schmid stunned Borussia Dortmund 2-1.

In form Wolfsburg reaped its fourth straight win to cement third place in the table after moving 2-0 past Augsburg and relegation-threatened Mainz edge ten-man Union Berlin 1-0. Enditem

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