Stefan Kießling set a new Bayer Leverkusen record for goals scored in a season, and Die Werkself beat Nürnberg 2-0 on Saturday to clinch a spot in the group stage of next season's Champions League.
The chances were falling to both sides in the first half hour of the match, with both goalkeepers being tested. Niklas Stark struck the outside of the post for Nürnberg, while Andre Schürrle and Sebastian Boenisch just missed the target at the other end. Alexander Esswein put a great shot on target in the 17th minute, but Bernd Leno was able to deflect the ball wide.
Ömer Toprak broke open the scoring in the 26th minute with a powerful header on a cross from Gonzalo Castro. Raphael Schäfer had no chance of keeping the ball out of his net. The goal was Toprak's first in the league on his 89th appearance for Leverkusen.
Leno came up big again just before the half, barely getting an arm to block another great effort from Esswein.
The visitors kept pushing for goals and were rewarded with a second halfway through the half. After Per Nilsson was called for a penalty after handling the ball in the area, Kießling coolly stepped up and converted the penalty for the 2-0 lead. The goal was his 23rd on the season and broke the single season goalscoring record he was sharing with Ulf Kirsten.
They were awarded another penalty in the final minutes of the second half, but Sidney Sam banged his shot off the post and nearly immediately substituted.
Leverkusen have now put a seven point gap between themselves and fourth place Schalke, so they have guaranteed themselves a place in the group stage of next year's Champions League. They made it to the knockout round of last year's competition, where they were summarily destroyed by Barcelona. Nürnberg are in that boring area of the table where they have zero to play for in the remaining few weeks. Boring.