Bundesliga relegation battle goes to the wire
BERLIN (AP) — Mario Goetze inspired Bayern Munich to a 4-1 win at Hamburger SV that left the home side relying on other results to stay in the Bundesliga’s relegation playoff place on Saturday.
Goetze scored twice and created another for Thomas Mueller, with Bayern substitute Claudio Pizarro cancelling out Hakan Calhanoglu’s consolation. Bayern defender Jerome Boateng was sent off late for hitting out at Hamburg midfielder Kerem Demirbay.
Eintracht Braunschweig conceded in injury time to lose 1-0 to Augsburg, and Nuremberg lost 2-0 to Hannover, meaning two points separate three relegation rivals going into the final round next weekend.
“I can understand the fans’ disappointment,” Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer said after his 250th league appearance for the club.
Stuttgart was no longer in danger of the drop, despite losing 2-1 at home to Wolfsburg, with Vieirinha scoring the winner in injury time.
“We’d rather have done it by ourselves but the important thing is that we keep playing in the Bundesliga,” Stuttgart president Bernd Wahler said.
Bayer Leverkusen consolidated fourth place with a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt. Gonzalo Castro and Emre Can’s first-half goals put Leverkusen in pole position for the last Champions League qualification spot.
“The goal was special,” said Can, who grew up in Frankfurt. “For the Champions League we still need a win against (Werder) Bremen.”
Borussia Dortmund defeated Hoffenheim 3-2, third-place Schalke won 2-0 at Freiburg, Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Mainz 3-1, and Bremen captain Aaron Hunt marked his last home game for the side by scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin.
“I couldn’t have wished for better,” Hunt said.
‘Gladbach ’keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was unable to hold back the tears as he was thanked for his service to the club he joined as a four-year-old. The 22-year-old is expected to move to Barcelona.
Bayern was hoping to make amends for its humiliating Champions League semifinal loss to Real Madrid, and Goetze made his case for a starting place against Dortmund in the German Cup final in two weeks.
Franck Ribery did not travel to Hamburg due to back problems. Mueller started up front rather than Mario Mandzukic, and Goetze took Ribery’s place on the left.
Goetze played a one-two with Arjen Robben to open the scoring in the 32nd minute. Bayern went 2-0 up after a corner in the 55th, when Goetze’s shot took a slight deflection from Mueller. The goal was awarded to the Bayern winger.
Mueller returned the favor by crossing for Goetze’s second with 20 minutes remaining, two minutes before Hakan Calhanoglu pulled one back. In the 75th, Pizarro scored with an overhead kick two minutes after he went on as a substitute.
Hamburg is battling to avoid its first ever relegation after playing every season of the Bundesliga since the league’s formation in 1963.
“The second goal was the turning point,” Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka said. “Still, there were a lot of positive things to see. You can see the sheer will is there.”
There was some trouble among frustrated fans in the stands at halftime when police were forced to intervene.
Braunschweig might have overtaken Hamburg but Augsburg ’keeper Marwin Hitz denied substitute Salim Khelifi in the 89th minute and Raul Bobadilla scored with a lob four minutes into injury time.
Nuremberg got off to a bad start when Hannover midfielder Szabolcs Huszti scored in the fifth, and Manuel Schmiedebach made it 2-0 in the 51st.
It was the 10th loss from 11 games for Nuremberg, which has been relegated seven times from the Bundesliga.
There were no such worries for Dortmund, already assured of second place before beating Hoffenheim. Dortmund fans gave a warm send-off to Robert Lewandowski, who is joining Bayern next season, and Manuel Friedrich, who is retiring.