Borussia Monchengladbach grabbed the final Champions League place as Werder Bremen earned themselves the lifeline of a relegation play-off on a dramatic final afternoon in the Bundesliga.
Gladbach’s 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin was sufficient to keep Bayer Leverkusen at bay in the battle for the top four as they returned to Europe’s elite competition for the first time since 2016-17.
Jonas Hoffman’s seventh-minute goal and Breel Embolo’s second late on were enough to beat a resurgent Hertha and ensure Leverkusen’s 1-0 win over Mainz, earned thanks to Kevin Volland’s early strike, was in vain.
Jonas Hoffman (right) celebrates after scoring the early opener for Monchengladbach
Hoffman found the net after just seven minutes in front of Gladbach’s cardboard supporters
There was delight at the final whistle as Gladbach secured Champions League football
Marco Rose’s side crack open the beers after securing fourth place in the Bundesliga
Kevin Volland celebrates his second-minute goal for Bayer Leverkusen against Mainz
Kai Havertz (right) was powerless as Leverkusen missed out on the Champions League spots
Hoffman lashed the ball just inside the post after impressive hold-up work by Embolo inside the Hertha box.
And Embolo made absolutely sure of their Champions League spot 12 minutes from time, tapping home from just a couple of yards after a well-worked corner routine.
It was just as well with substitute Vedad Ibisevic scoring for Hertha in injury time.
Marco Rose’s Gladbach team join champions Bayern Munich, second-placed Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig in qualifying for next season’s Champions League from Germany.
The afternoon’s most astonishing drama came at the bottom of the table, however, as Bremen smashed Cologne 6-1 to condemn Fortuna Dusseldorf, beaten 3-0 at Union Berlin, to relegation.
How the European places ended up following a dramatic final day in the Bundesliga
Yuya Osako hands Werder Bremen the lead in their crucial match against Cologne on Saturday
It didn’t take long for Bremen to double their advantage with Milot Rashica scoring smartly
The third goal was scored by Niclas Fullkrug, who swept home a left-side cross from close in
Rashica and Josh Sargent celebrate at the final whistle as Bremen go into the play-off
Final day scores
Augsburg 1 RB Leipzig 2
Bayer Leverkusen 1 Mainz 0
Borussia Dortmund 0 Hoffenheim 4
Borussia Monchengladbach 2 Hertha Berlin 1
Eintracht Frankfurt 3 Paderborn 2
Freiburg 4 Schalke 0
Union Berlin 3 Fortuna Dusseldorf 0
Werder Bremen 6 Cologne 1
Wolfsburg 0 Bayern Munich 4
Bremen, the Bundesliga’s longest-serving club, now face a relegation play-off against whichever team finishes third in the 2. Bundesliga, which concludes on Sunday.
Yuya Osako opened the scoring for Bremen after 22 minutes and they gained the cushion of a second thanks to fancy footwork by Milot Rashica five minutes later.
Niclas Fullkrug swept home from Marco Friedl’s cross to make it 3-0 moments later and the goal glut continued after the break with Davy Klaasen sharp to react after Rashica’s shot hit the post.
It was five when Osaka converted from Theodor Gebre Selassie’s cross and America Josh Sargent scored the sixth after a consolation by Dominick Drexler.
That emphatic result combined with Fortuna’s loss to Union Berlin sent Uwe Rosler’s team down.
They were never in contention in the capital with Anthony Ujah forcing home Union’s opener shortly after Bremen had gone two ahead.
And loose Fortuna defending after the break in dealing with a long ball allowed Ujah to tee up Christian Gentner to make it 2-0.
The relegation picture with Paderborn and Dusseldorf down and Bremen in the play-off
Anthony Ujah gets the final touch as Union Berlin take the lead against Fortuna Dusseldorf
Ujah’s goal was bad news for Fortuna, scored at around the same time Bremen went 2-0 ahead
Misery for Fortuna’s player as they are relegated to the 2. Bundesliga after their defeat
The final nail in Dusseldorf’s coffin came when Suleiman Abdullahi added a late third which incidentally meant Union finished level on 41 points with city rivals Hertha.
Bremen now go into a two-legged play-off against either Heidenheim or their bitter rivals Hamburg with the first leg on Thursday night.
Elsewhere, Timo Werner signed off with two final goals for Leipzig before his transfer to Chelsea as they won 2-1 at Augsburg.
Werner skipped through onto Amadou Haidara’s through pass to round the keeper and score before winning the contest eight minutes from time with a tidy finish across goal.
Chelsea-bound Timo Werner rounds the keeper to open the scoring for Leipzig at Augsburg
Werner is making his final Bundesliga appearance for Leipzig ahead of his move to London
Werner (third right) celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winner at Augsburg
Relentless Bayern Munich reached a century of Bundesliga goals for the season with a 4-0 win at Wolfsburg.
Dominant from start to finish, the champions led when Kingsley Coman rifled home a low shot from Thomas Muller’s through ball.
Mickael Cuisance curled home a lovely second eight minutes before half-time before Robert Lewandowski grabbed a 34th Bundesliga goal of the season from the spot.
Thomas Muller rounded off another handsome victory with a late fourth but Wolfsburg were already assured of a Europa League place.
Kingsley Coman is congratulated on Bayern Munich’s opening goal in their game at Wolfsburg
Bayern’s second goal was a delightful curling strike by Mickael Cuisance in the first-half
Robert Lewandowski was on target yet again, converting a penalty for Bayern’s third goal
However, they will have to start next season’s European campaign early in the second qualifying round after Hoffenheim leapfrogged them to sixth courtesy of a remarkable 4-0 win at Borussia Dortmund.
Andrej Kramaric was the star of the show, scoring all four games, as a strangely lacklustre Dortmund were brushed aside.
He opened the scoring with a superb curled effort from the edge of the box, doubled the lead on the half-hour and ran clear to roll home the third.
A Kramaric penalty made it four as Hoffenheim ensured they will start in the Europa League group stage, along with Leverkusen, in 2020-21.
Andrej Kramaric (left) celebrates scoring Hoffenheim’s opening goal at Borussia Dortmund
Kramaric fires beyond Dortmund keeper Roman Burki to complete his hat-trick after the break
There was yet more misery for Schalke coach David Wagner as they crashed 4-0 at Freiburg
Freiburg piled further pressure on Schalke manager David Wagner with a 4-0 win. Schalke have been terrible since the restart, losing seven of nine games to end up 12th in the table.
Already relegated Paderborn signed off from the Bundesliga with a 3-2 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt.