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The final day of the Bundesliga season saw Cologne slip out of the top flight, while Hertha Berlin live to fight another day.
With issues at the top of the table already decided, the 34th round of fixtures saw focus fixed on the basement battle.
Hertha Berlin had to win if they were to avoid filling one of the relegation places, and they did just that as they saw off Hoffenheim 3-1.
Anis Ben-Hatira netted a brace (14 & 78) and Raffael struck in stoppage-time to ensure that Hertha will take in a play-off with the side finishing third in the second tier for the right to grace the Bundesliga in 2011/12.
A disappointing day for Hoffenheim saw Marvin Compper grab a consolation five minutes from time, but they were facing an uphill battle from the moment Ryan Babel saw red shortly before the interval.
Hertha's victory condemned Cologne to relegation, with a 4-1 defeat at home to Bayern Munich sending them down.
Bundesliga runners-up Bayern were always in complete control of the tie and edged in front on 34 minutes when Thomas Muller broke the deadlock.
A Pedro Geromel own goal doubled their lead on 52 minutes and Arjen Robben ended the game as a contest two minutes later.
Milivoje Novakovic pulled one back for Cologne on 63 minutes, but they were already well beaten by that stage and Muller added his second of the game five minutes from the end to wrap up a convincing win for Bayern.
Borussia Dortmund toasted back-to-back titles with a crushing 4-0 victory over in-form Freiburg, who saw a 10-match unbeaten run brought to an abrupt halt.
Polish pair Jakub Blaszczykowski (4 & 39) and Robert Lewandowski (20 & 27) did the damage as they bagged a brace apiece.
Schalke already had third place in the bag and rounded off the season in style as they edged out Werder Bremen 3-2.
A double from Claudio Pizarro (pen 41 & 82) offered the hosts hope, but an opening goal from Julian Draxler (30) and a second half brace from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (65 & 74) saw Schalke over the line.
Borussia Monchengladbach will also be involved in next season's UEFA Champions League after finishing fourth and brought the curtain down on their campaign with a 3-0 victory on the road at Mainz.
Marco Reus netted twice (31 & 61) and Igor de Camargo (69) also got the scoresheet at the Bruchwegstadion.
Steffan Kiessling grabbed a hat-trick (8, 32 & 89) as Bayer Leverkusen swept aside Nurnberg 4-1.
Andre Schurrle (77) was also on target for Leverkusen, while Nurnberg's solitary reply came from Robert Mak (58).
Stuttgart prevailed 3-2 in a five-goal thriller against Wolfsburg.
Patrick Helmes (28) and Marco Russ (60) appeared to have the visitors on their way to three points, but three goals in six minutes from Cacau (73), Francisco Rodriguez (77) and Ibrahima Traore (79) turned the tie on its head.
A 34th-minute effort from Ja-Cheoi Koo saw Augsburg to a 1-0 victory over Hamburg.
Rock-bottom Kaiserslautern took a seventh-minute lead through Pierre De Wit against Hannover, but saw an own goal from Alexander Bugera (38) and a 71st-minute effort from Didier Ya Konan condemn them to a 2-1 defeat.
Date: 2012-05-07 09:54:58