AACHEN, April 28 (Bundesliga) - Hertha Berlin revived their UEFA Cup chances in emphatic fashion on Saturday, claiming a convincing victory at Alemannia Aachen to move to within four points of the qualifying places.
A first-half goal by Gilberto gave the capital team a slim 1-0 half-time lead, before goals in the second 45 minutes from Christian Gimenez, Marko Pantelic and Yildiray Basturk added further woe to Aachen's survival aspirations.
Defeat now means that Michael Frontzeck's team remain in the bottom three on goal difference from Arminia Bielefeld, who have a game in hand, with just five matches remaining.
And it could all have been so different for the hosts had midfielder Laurentiu Reghecampf not spurned a 16th-minute penalty to bring the teams level.
The game started at a high tempo with Vedad Ibisevic unleashing a powerful 25-yard strike from the right to draw a fine save from Berlin goalkeeper Christian Fiedler after just two minutes.
Four minutes later the first chance for the visitors brought the opening goal. After a midfield tussle involving Gilberto and fellow Brazilian Mineiro Gilberto, the former came away with the ball and broke free before driving home from 10 yards to give his team the lead.
In the 16th minute, Sascha Rosler drew a rash challenge from Josip Simunic to earn Aachen a spot-kick.
However, Fiedler was well alert to save Reghecampf's low penalty to the left and hand the momentum to the visitors.
Thomas Stehle then hit the post with his ambitious 30-yard strike, before Berlin doubled their advantage immediately after the restart.
Malik Fathi was the provider with a low cross from the left in the 48th minute and Argentinian Gimenez turned the ball home from close range.
In the 77th minute, a quick counter-attack led by Ashkan Dejagah saw him charge down the field before cutting the ball back to Pantelic from the right and the Serbian forward swept home.
Three minutes later, Dejagah was again the provider as his pass picked out Basturk, who tricked his way past a defender and the onrushing goalkeeper to calmly finish from five yards.