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Bayern Munich romp deepens Hamburg relegation ‘worries’ Dortmund hold off Hoffenheim

BERLIN, May 3, (AFP): Mario Goetze netted twice in Bayern Munich’s 4-1 win at Hamburg on Saturday which left the hosts facing a nerve-racking final weekend where they could be relegated for the first time. As the only team in Germany’s top tier to have never been relegated, Hamburg’s 20th defeat of the season left them third from bottom on 27 points. That’s one point ahead of Nuremberg and two in front of Eintracht Braunschweig with those two sides occupying the automatic relegation places. The best former European champions Hamburg can now hope for is a two-legged relegation play-off against the third-placed side in the second division to preserve their top-flight status. Bayern bounced back from Tuesday’s 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, second-leg to return to winning ways a fortnight before facing Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final on May 17.

“It wasn’t easy after the Champions League defeat, but the win was important for us for the cup final in Berlin,” said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola. “I wish Hamburg the best of luck and hope they reach the play-offs. A club with their history belongs in the Bundesliga.” Bayern needed 32 minutes to take the lead as Goetze squared to Arjen Robben and then tapped home the return pass to put the champions 1-0 up. They doubled their lead when Goetze was left free to fire home Robben’s corner on 55 minutes, which went in off colleague Thomas Mueller. Goetze grabbed his second when he slotted home Mueller’s pass after Robben’s shot was saved by Hamburg keeper Rene Adler.

Hamburg pulled a goal back with 20 minutes left through Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu before Claudio Pizarro grabbed Bayern’s fourth. Bayern defender Jerome Boateng was sent off just before the final whistle for striking Kerem Demirbay. The defeat means Hamburg cannot now finish outside the bottom three, the same fate befalling Nuremberg after their 2-0 defeat at home to Hanover 96. Bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig, who lost 1-0 at home to Augsburg thanks to Raul Bobadilla’s 94th-minute goal, were already certain of finishing in the bottom three in their first season back in Germany’s top flight.

As the bottom three are separated by just two points, all that remains to be decided in next weekend’s final round of matches is which two go down and who goes into the play-off. Poland striker Robert Lewandowski enjoyed a 3-2 win against Hoffenheim in his final home match for second-placed Borussia Dortmund before joining Bayern next season. Hoffenheim took the lead after just five minutes when Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino beat both Germany defender Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer to drill home his shot. But Dortmund roared back with three goals in five minutes before the break. Germany winger Kevin Grosskreutz slotted in a 29th minute shot, Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed home two minutes later and then Lukasz Piszczek hit their third after a mix up in the Hoffenheim defence from a free-kick.

A bad mistake by Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, who allowed a long-range shot from Niklas Suele to fly through his legs, made it 3-2 to the hosts with 66 minutes gone. Ten-man Schalke 04 need just one more point to secure a direct Champions League place next season after their 2-0 win at Freiburg kept them three points clear of Bayer Leverkusen in third as Dutchman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored his 59th league goal for the Royal Blues in his 100th Bundesliga game.

Leverkusen kept their grip on fourth, and a Champions League play-off place, with a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt. But both Borussia Moenchenglad-bach and Wolfsburg can still claim the Bundesliga’s fourth Champions League place next season. Gladbach’s 3-1 win at home to Mainz keeps them sixth, three points from fourth, while Wolfsburg’s 2-1 win at VfB Stuttgart, thanks to Ivica Olic’s late goal, also keeps them in the hunt for a Champions League spot, a point below Leverkusen.

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