1. FC Köln have been relegated from the Bundesliga despite an attempted late fightback against SC Freiburg on Saturday.
A late brace from Leonardo Bittencourt gave them hope of getting the win needed to stave off the drop for another week at least, but Lucas Höler’s winner put the final nail in the coffin for the Billy Goats.
Hamburger SV’s great escape is on though, after they beat VfL Wolfsburg in another relegation six-pointer.
Höler ends Köln’s Bundesliga stay
Köln needed to win to have any hope of staving off what has seen inevitable for some time, but when Nils Petersen scored his and Freiburg’s second just after half-time, that was looking incredibly unlikely.
Victory was in sight though after Bittencourt scored not once but twice, however Höler’s sucker punch in the second minute of stoppage time ended their four-year stay in the Bundesliga, just a year after reaching Europe for the first time in 25 years. Freiburg themselves are now three points clear of the drop zone, having started the day in the relegation play-off place, but far from out of danger.
That is especially so after Hamburg put everyone above them on high alert with the second win on the spin after beating Freiburg last Saturday. Bobby Wood and Lewis Holtby scored just before the break, although Josip Brekalo got one back for the Wolves in the second half. However Luca Waldschmidt, the hero of their all-or-nothing meeting last season, scored in stoppage time to complete a 3-1 win.
Just two points now separate Hamburg and 1. FSV Mainz 05, who are now sixteenth ahead of the meeting with RB Leipzig on Sunday. Wolfsburg remain just above them on goal difference, with Freiburg another place up.
Dorsch marks Bayern debut with goal
Elsewhere, champions Bayern Munich beat incoming coach Niko Kovac’s Eintracht Frankfurt, despite making eight changes from their game in midweek against Real Madrid. Niklas Dorsch, one of three young debutants, score the opening before the break, whilst Rafinha scored two from the bench and Nikas Süle completed the rout, with Sébastien Haller getting the Eagles’ goal.
Schalke 04 missed the chance to confirm their place in next season’s UEFA Champions League as they were held by Borussia Mönchengladbach. They played most of the game with ten men after Nabil Bentaleb was sent off, with Raffael going on to put the visitors ahead. However, Daniel Caligiuri scored an equaliser to salvage a point.
They will in all likelihood finish in the top four though after Bayer Leverkusen fell to a surprise defeat in the Topspiel against VfB Stuttgart. After Lucas Alario had a VAR-awarded penalty saved by Ron-Robert Zieler in the first half, Christian Gentner scored halfway through the second half to give Tayfun Korkut another win, against his former club.
Finally, Hertha BSC managed to take a point from their mid-table contest with FC Augsburg, despite trailing to two goals from Michael Gregoritsch and Sergio Córdova. Vedad Ibisevic pulled one back with six minutes left, before Davie Selke scored an equaliser. The visitors then had Marcel Heller sent off for a second yellow card late on.