Hoffenheim, Dortmund qualify for UEFA Champions League

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Berlin, May 13 (IANS) Hoffenheim moved 3-1 past Borussia Dortmund to ensure a berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League following the last round of the 55th Bundesliga football season.

Dortmund on Saturday ensured a lively start to the encounter and kept Hoffenheim’s defence busy as Raphael Guerreiro was a threat in the opening period, reports Xinhua news agency.

Nevertheless, the opener was scored at the other end of the pitch as Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki invited Hoffenheim with a poor clearance, allowing Andrej Kramaric to open the scoring in the 26th minute.

The visitors should have restored parity moments later but Andre Schuerrle was unable to hit the target with just goalkeeper Oliver Baumann to beat.

Dortmund remained on the front foot after the interval as Marco Reus tested Baumann. The German international remained in the thick of things as he equalised the scores from very close range in the 58th minute.

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The hosts remained unimpressed though as Adam Szalai restored the one-goal lead after chipping the ball over onrushing custodian Buerki five minutes later.

Julian Nagelsmann gained momentum and added another goal to their lead as Pavel Kaderabek volleyed home to make it 4-1 in the closing period.

With the result, both sides exchange their positions. Hoffenheim moved to the third place whereas Dortmund slipped to the fourth position. Both have 55 points each but Hoffenheim are ahead on better goal difference.

Elsewhere, Lucas Alario’s brace helped fifth placed Bayer Leverkusen to beat newly promoted Hannover 3-2 and to ensure a berth in the UEFA Europa League.

Sixth placed Leipzig cruised 6-2 past hapless Hertha Berlin to book their ticket for next season’s Europa League.

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Newly promoted Stuttgart spoiled Bayern Munich’s title celebration party and head coach Jupp Heynckes’ final game in charge of the Bavarian giants as the former cruised to a 4-1 win.

Runners-up Schalke rounded off their season with a narrow 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Werder Bremen came from behind to beat Mainz 2-1 and Freiburg maintained their top flight status after downing Augsburg 2-0 in the last round of the 55th Bundesliga season.

–IANS

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