Spahic helps Leverkusen return to top four

Nurnberg, Germany ( - A pair of goals from Emir Spahic allowed Bayer Leverkusen to return to fourth place on Sunday with a 4-1 win at relegation-battling Nurnberg.

Spahic and Nurnberg's Marvin Plattenhardt traded goals in the first half, but Leverkusen took control after the break with Sebastian Boenisch, Spahic and Roberto Hilbert each scoring goals to take Leverkusen one point above fifth- place Wolfsburg in the race for the final Champions League place.

Nurnberg's defeat leaves the club second from the bottom and five points from safety.

Leverkusen came out attacking from the start and went in front after 16 minutes with a wonderful 20-yard volley from Spahic.

Nurnberg was back on level terms 10 minutes later when Plattenhardt scored from a free kick, but the visitors went right back on the attack and nearly added to their lead before halftime as Omer Toprak's header hit the post.

Toprak set up the go-ahead goal for Leverkusen after the break as Boenisch finished off his first league goal of the campaign, while Spahic added a second goal after a great run from Heung-Min Son 10 minutes from time.

Hilbert capped the scoring a few minutes later when he pounced on a rebound from Son's shot that Nurnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer failed to handle.

Also on Sunday, Stuttgart's survival hopes got a major boost with a 3-1 win over third-place Schalke.

Martin Harnik scored twice and Cacau added another as Stuttgart built a 3-0 lead before a 69th-minute goal from Adam Szalai handed Schalke a consolation tally.

The win moves Stuttgart four points clear of the bottom three.