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Gladbach qualify for Champions League; Düsseldorf go down

Berlin, Jun 27 (efe-epa).- Borussia Mönchengladbach secured the final Champions League berth and Fortuna Düsseldorf were relegated on Saturday as the coronavirus-disrupted Bundesliga season came to a close.

With Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig having already nailed down the top three places, Gladbach controlled their own destiny heading into the final match, while fifth-place Bayer Leverkusen needed both to beat Mainz (they prevailed 1-0) and for their rivals to lose.

Instead, Gladbach posted a 2-1 victory over Hertha Berlin.

Leverkusen will have to settle for a ticket to the Europa League along with sixth-place Hoffenheim, who pounded Dortmund 4-0 to finish 3 points above Wolfsburg, 4-0 losers Saturday to Bayern.

Against a Dortmund side who had nothing at stake, Andrej Kramaric became the first player in Hoffenheim’s history to score four goals in a Bundesliga match.

Taking the seventh spot entitles Wolfsburg to play their way into the 2020-2021 Europa League tourney starting in the second qualifying round.

At the bottom end of the table, the fight was between Düsseldorf and Werder Bremen to finish 16th, which comes with a chance to stay up via a playoff against the third-place side in the second division.

Düsseldorf began the day in 16th, 2 points ahead of Werder, but lost 3-0 to Union Berlin while Bremen thrashed FC Köln 6-1 to push Fortuna down to 17th.

Werder Bremen, who have played more seasons in the Bundesliga than any other club, will have to defeat Hamburg or Heidenheim to avoid relegation.

Saturday’s other action saw Eintracht Frankfurt edge relegated Paderborn 3-2, SC Freiburg rout Schalke 4-0 and Leipzig best Augsburg 2-1 on a brace by Chelsea-bound Timo Werner, making his final appearance for the Red Bulls.

In Wolfsburg, Bayern, already assured of their record eighth straight Bundesliga title, offered yet another demonstration of their dominance.

The visitors got goals from Kingsley Coman, Michaël Cuisance, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller to push the club’s season total to 100, just one shy of their record of 101.

Lewandowski’s successful penalty brought him to 34 goals in 34 matches. This is the third consecutive Bundesliga scoring crown for the Polish striker.

The contest in Wolfsburg was followed by the formal presentation of the Bundesliga trophy, known as the “salad bowl,” with barely 100 people inside the stadium due to the Covid-19 restrictions “It is a special but strange moment,” German football league CEO Christian Seifert said. “We have never experienced a season ending in such a way, no fans, no whistles, no cheers.”

“It is not the Bundesliga we want but the only Bundesliga that could be played under the circumstances. This championship title belongs a bit to all of us to have played the season out and it ends with a sporting champion,” Seifert said before handing the trophy to Bayern captain Manuel Neuer. EFE rz/dr

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