Albin Ekdal’s first-half own goal proved decisive as Bayer Leverkusen ended a four-match Bundesliga winless run by beating Hamburg 1-0.
Roger Schmidt’s men entered Sunday’s game six points adrift of the Champions League places but finally returned to winning ways in an entertaining encounter at the BayArena.
After a bright start, Leverksuen broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Ekdal attempted to cut out a pass but only succeeded in turning the ball beyond the outstretched arms of Rene Adler.
Leverkusen went close to adding a second just before half-time as Javier Hernandez hit the crossbar with a header.
Bernd Leno produced an excellent save to keep out Artjoms Rudnevs’ looping effort in the 71st minute as Hamburg sought a second-half equaliser before Stefan Kiessling was denied by Adler at the other end four minutes later.
Rudnevs was again thwarted by Leno nine minutes from time and, although Tin Jedvaj was sent off for dissent having been booked for time-wasting in injury time, Leverkusen held on to claim maximum points.