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.
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant described new teammate James Harden as “incredible” after the guard recorded a triple-double on his debut for the team in their 122-115 NBA victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night. Harden on Thursday joined the Nets from the Houston Rockets to reunite with Durant — his former teammate at Oklahoma City Thunder — and the duo looked dominant in their first game together with the Brooklyn team. Durant scored a season-high 42 points while Harden, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2018, became the seventh player in NBA history to register a triple-double in his debut