Bayer 04 Leverkusen pipped VfL Stuttgart into next season's UEFA Champions League with a final-day 2-0 victory, but Felix Magath will lead FC Bayern München into the group stage after they overcame SC Freiburg in Ottmar Hitzfeld's last game in charge.
Last week's 6-2 win at champions SV Werden Bremen had given 2001/02 Champions League finalists Leverkusen hope of a return, and today Dimitar Berbatov gave Leverkusen a 63rd-minute lead against Stuttgart, who had needed only a draw to stay third. Leverkusen then won a penalty five minutes from time. Goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt stepped up and hit the post, but Bernd Schneider converted the rebound.
Magath was in charge of Stuttgart for the last time before joining Bayern, who held on to second place. Sebastian Deisler, returning after a six-month absence with depression, put Bayern into an 18th-minute lead against Freiburg and Bixente Lizarazu, himself departing this summer, made it 2-0 with a penalty 17 minutes from time.
Bochum enter Europe
Stuttgart enter the UEFA Cup, and will be joined by VfL Bochum 1848, who overhauled BV Borussia Dortmund to finish fifth. Bochum took a 26th-minute lead against Hannover 96 through Peter Madsen, and although the visitors levelled before half-time when Thomas Christians scored, Paul Freier and Frank Fahrenhorst struck late on to seal a 3-1 win.
Dortmund could have held Bochum off with victory at 1. FC Kaiserslautern, but the home side preserved their Bundesliga status, and condemned Eintracht Frankfurth and TSV 1860 München to relegation, by drawing 1-1. Vratislav Lokvenc gave Kaiserslautern a sixth-minute lead, and although Jan Koller levelled 19 minutes from the end, Dortmund could not produce a winner.
Stuttgart and Bochum will be joined in the UEFA Cup by second flight TSV Alemannia 1900 Aachen, who take on Bremen in next Saturday's German Cup final. The champions suffered a setback ahead of that Berlin encounter as they lost 3-1 at FC Hansa Rostock.
Eintracht and 1860 would have gone down whatever Kaiserslautern's result as they lost their matches. Eintracht were defeated 2-1 at Hamburger SV and 1860 took the lead against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach but still fell 3-1. Long-relegated 1. FC Köln bade farewell to the top flight with a 3-1 loss at Hertha BSC Berlin, while FC Schalke 04, who stage Wednesday's Champions League final, finished seventh following a 1-1 draw at VfL Wolfsburg.
©Reuters 1998-2010. All rights reserved.