BERLIN (Reuters) - Hertha Berlin boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga after an impressive 3-0 home win over sixth-placed Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Hertha moved up three places to 14th on 24 points from 26 games, one more than 16th-placed Cologne who occupy the relegation playoff spot and two ahead of 17th-placed Arminia Bielefeld.
Basement team Schalke have 10 points and only a mathematical chance of staying up.
Dutch midfielder Deyovaisio Zeefuik fired the home side ahead in the fourth minute with his first goal for Hertha when he curled in a delightful first-time shot off the post from edge of the area.
Playmaker Matheus Cunha made it 2-0 when he drove a firm low shot into the far corner after the day's second assist by Dodi Lukebakio, who tormented the visiting defence all afternoon.
Another darting Hertha raid in the 33rd minute allowed Jhon Cordoba to add the third as Bayer's defenders failed to clear the danger and the Colombian striker pounced from close range.
Visiting keeper Lennart Grill pulled off four superb saves early in the second half as Hertha kept pressing, with Lukebakio having a goal disallowed after a VAR check for handball in the build-up.
Earlier on Sunday, Mainz also made a step towards top-flight survival with a 2-1 win at Hoffenheim to climb to 15th on 24 points, behind Hertha on goal difference.
Robert Glatzel and Dominik Kohr struck for Mainz either side of Ihlas Bebou's equaliser in an action-packed first half, the result leaving Hoffenheim 11th on 30 points.
Later on Sunday, 10th-placed Freiburg entertain Augsburg in 13th before the two-week international break.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond)