BERLIN, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Bayer Leverkusen moved to the second place after Lucas Alario provided a brace to crush Hoffenheim 4-1 at the 19th round in Bundesliga on Saturday.
Leverkusen and Hoffenheim staged a fast-paced encounter yet both defences defused dangerous efforts in the opening period.
As the match progressed, Hoffenheim almost broke the deadlock but Lars Bender blocked Dennis Geiger's cross to the woodwork with 29 minutes into the game.
However, Leverkusen dictated the pace on the pitch and were rewarded with the opener before the break as Leon Bailey back-heeled Julian Brandt's cross to make it 1-0 on the scoreboards with 43 minutes.
After the restart, Hoffenheim came out on the front foot to work out a number of chances. Lukas Rupp shot on target got denied by the outside of the post while Steven Zuber missed the target from promising position.
The hosts punished Hoffenheim for their wastefulness as Julian Baumgartlinger unleashed a volley following Bender's assist to double the lead against the run of the game in the 52nd minute.
With the two-goal lead, Leverkusen retracted and focussed on fast breaks. Hence, the "Werkself" tripled the lead through Alario, who finished off Bailey's build-up work with 70 minutes played.
Hoffenheim kept it bowling and came to their consolation goal in the closing period when Adam Szalai chipped the ball over onrushing Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno to reduce the arrears to 3-1 in the 86th minute.
The hosts were not done with the scoring and restored their three-goal lead through Alario, who utilized Panagiotis Retsos assist in the dying minutes of the clash.
With the result, Leverkusen climb from the 5th to the 2nd place for the moment whereas Hoffenheim slipped from the 7th to the 9th position.
Elsewhere, Leipzig lost their 2nd place to Leverkusen as the "Bulls" lost surprisingly 2-1 to bottom side Freiburg.
Timo Werner scored the opener for Leipzig in the second half before Freiburg bounced back on the goals from Janik Haberer and Robin Koch to reap a vital win.
Monchengladbach returned to winning ways after beating Augsburg 2-0 on home soil.
Mainz overpowered newly promoted Stuttgart 3-2 after Yoshinori Muto scored twice to inflict the "Swabians" the 11th defeat of the season.
Eintracht Frankfurt edged harmless Wolfsburg 3-1 and last placed Cologne snatched their third win row after overcoming Hamburg on Simon Terodde's two goals.
The following fixtures complete the 19th round on Sunday: front runners and title holders Bayern Munich host Werder Bremen and Schalke take on newly promoted Hannover.