Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday.
Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen.
“We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be even greater,” Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt said after the club’s 1,900th Bundesliga game.
Bremen have spent more seasons than any other team in the Bundesliga, having only spent one term in the second tier, in 1980-1981.
Bremen face second-tier opponents in either Heidenheim 1846 or possibly neighbors, rivals and fellow struggling giants Hamburg SV in the playoff’s first leg on Thursday.
“I have experienced a few derbies, but I don’t care who we face. I just want to appeal to the fans to stay home to watch it,” said Kohfeldt, with games still behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A burst of goals from Osako, Milot Rashica and Niclas Fuellkrug — all in the space of eight minutes — had Werder 3-0 up at the break against Cologne at the Weserstadion.
Former Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen then fired home a rebound just after the break before Osako, facing his old side, added his second and US international Josh Sargent completed the rout. Dominick Drexler pulled a goal back for Cologne.
Four-time Bundesliga champions Werder also needed a favor from Berlin and got one as Union beat Fortuna 3-0 with goals from Nigerian duo Anthony Ujah and Suleiman Abdullahi either side of veteran midfielder Christian Gentner’s effort.
Against Wolfsburg, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored a penalty for his 34th league goal of the season, finishing as the top scorer for the fifth time.
Kingsley Coman, Michael Cuisance and Thomas Mueller also got on the scoresheet as Bayern, champions for the eighth straight season, finished 13 points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund following a 4-0 win.
Mueller set up Coman for Bayern’s opening goal to finish the campaign with a league record 21 assists, and his goal that rounded out the win was also Bayern’s 100th league goal this season — one short of the Bundesliga record.
“I am proud of the way we have played over the past few months,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick, who has won 28 of his first 31 games in charge.
Borussia Moenchengladbach and RB Leipzig secured qualification for next season’s Champions League after 2-1 wins over Hertha BSC and Augsburg respectively, while fifth-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen missed out by two points despite beating FSV Mainz 1-0.
Dortmund, who had already wrapped up second place, crashed to a 4-0 home defeat against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, for whom Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric scored all four goals, including a no-look penalty.
That result allowed Hoffenheim to leapfrog Wolfsburg and take sixth place, although both sides will go into the Europa League next season along with Leverkusen.
Elsewhere, Timo Werner signed off with a brace in RB Leipzig’s 2-1 win at Augsburg in what was his final appearance for the club before moving to Chelsea.
Schalke 04’s disastrous second half of the season was completed with a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of SC Freiburg as they finished the season 12th, having been third in December last year.
Eintracht Frankfurt beat bottom side SC Paderborn 3-2 in Saturday’s other game.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
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