Cologne had their German league relegation confirmed on Saturday, while Borussia Dortmund broke the Bundesliga record for the most points in a season with a 4-0 thrashing of SC Freiburg.
“My team has erased any doubts and proven their character,” Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said after his side finished the season eight points clear of Champions League finalists Bayern Munich. “They have shown an impressive appetite for football. Something extraordinary has happened: We have got 81 points, which no team will beat anytime soon.”
Dortmund’s second consecutive title triumph allowed them to break Bayern’s long-held record of 79 for the most points amassed in a season (Bayern twice picked up the equivalent of 79 points when two points were awarded for a win).
Dortmund also extended their unbeaten run to 28 games.
All four Dortmund goals came from Poland internationals, as Robert Lewandowski netted twice, while international teammate Jakub Blaszczykowski also hit two goals to make it 4-0 at the break.
In contrast, Cologne’s 4-1 defeat at home to Bayern saw them drop to 17th in the league, synonymous with automatic relegation, after Hertha BSC Berlin’s 3-1 home win over 10-man TSG 1899 Hoffenheim lifted them to 16th.
Hertha Berlin must now win a two-leg playoff against a team from the second division to stay in the top tier.
The capital side were to discover yesterday who their opponents are and play the first leg on Thursday.
Hertha Berlin took the lead at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium when Tunisia midfielder Anis Ben-Hatira slammed home a direct free-kick just 14 minutes into the game.
Hoffenheim were reduced to 10 men when former Liverpool forward Ryan Babel was shown two yellow cards in quick succession after theatrics from Georgia’s Levan Kobiashvili convinced the referee he had been struck in the face by the Dutchman.
Replays showed it was a harsh decision against Babel, who was dismissed with 42 minutes on the clock.
Hertha Berlin made it 2-0 when Ben-Hatira tapped home again on 78 minutes to secure Berlin’s playoff lifeline.
Ex-Germany defender Marvin Compper netted a late consolation for Hoffenheim before Brazilian striker Raffael made it 3-1 to the hosts in the 92nd minute.
Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski marked his Cologne farewell, but could not prevent his team suffering a home defeat by Bayern.
German international Thomas Mueller put Bayern ahead with a well-timed strike as the Cologne defense swarmed around die Roten hotshot Mario Gomez, leaving Mueller to fire home on 34 minutes.
Cologne captain Pedro Geromel then turned the ball into his own net on 52 minutes and Bayern’s Dutch star Arjen Robben curled in the third on 54 minutes.
The hosts pulled a goal back, but Mueller netted Bayern’s fourth to compound Cologne’s misery and send them down.
Hannover 96 claimed the last available Europa League qualification spot as their 2-1 win at home to Kaiserslautern left them seventh, while VfB Stuttgart’s 3-2 win at home to VfL Wolfsburg denied die Wolfe a top-seven finish and a place in Europe.
Stuttgart’s win saw them score three goals in six second-half minutes to hit back from 3-2 down.
Germany’s Stefan Kiessling hit a hat-trick in Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s 4-1 victory at Nuremberg as ex-Germany captain Michael Ballack made his final appearance for Leverkusen.
Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Schalke 04 was confirmed as the Bundesliga’s top scorer with 29 goals in 32 games after he scored twice in his team’s 3-2 win at Werder Bremen.