Leverkusen coach delighted with Hoffenheim rout
Bayer Leverkusen coach Bruno Labbadia revealed his side had a particular motivation for the 4-1 win at Hoffenheim.
Not only did the win narrow the gap between the two sides to just two points and launch Bayer's own title challenge, they became the first team to come away from the Rhein-Neckar Arena with all three points.
"We went into the game with the knowledge that we could be the first team to beat Hoffenheim here," explained Labbadia afterwards.
"I am delighted for the lads that we played such a game. It was an important victory so that the team knows that they can beat anybody."
Bayer have now beaten league leaders Hoffenheim home and away this season, putting nine goals past them in the process.
Their next challenge will be to confirm their strength against other teams in the upper regions of the Bundesliga, which has been their downfall so far this season.
They lost to the other three sides in the top five - Hamburg, Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich - during the first half of the season and will be looking to change that when they host Hamburg next weekend.
Hoffenheim, meanwhile, will aim to do what they did after losing to Leverkusen in August by losing only one of their next seven fixtures.
"It will be decisive now to see what kind of a reaction we show in Stuttgart," said their coach Ralf Rangnick, whose side risked losing top spot in the Bundesliga to either Berlin or Bayern Munich today.
Hamburg also have the chance to move level with them by beating Arminia Bielefeld.