Leverkusen reaches Champions League, Union stuns Freiburg
BERLIN (AP) — Patrik Schick scored twice to shoot Bayer Leverkusen into the Champions League with a 4-2 win at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Union Berlin stunned Freiburg 4-1 to dampen its Champions League hopes. Union secured at least a place in the Europa Conference League for the second season in a row after already achieving its best Bundesliga season.
Sixth-placed Union, which was promoted only in 2019, has a two-point lead over Cologne in their tussle for Europa League qualification. Cologne lost at home to Wolfsburg 1-0.
Hertha Berlin failed to secure its survival as it lost at home to Mainz 2-1.
Also, second-placed Borussia Dortmund defeated already relegated Greuther Fürth 3-1 away in Stefan Leitl’s last game as Fürth coach. Leitl, who led the team to promotion last season, is leaving after 3 1/2 years in charge.
Leverkusen was made to work hard for its result against Hoffenheim, which was hoping to keep its European qualification chances alive.
Schick took his tally to 24 goals in 26 league appearances. Leverkusen twice came from behind to secure third place, irrespective of what happens in its final game against Freiburg next weekend.
The top four in Germany qualify for the Champions League.
Freiburg’s defeat at home to Union gave Leipzig the chance to move to fourth by avoiding defeat at home to Augsburg on Sunday.
Freiburg, which also faces Leipzig in the German Cup final on May 21, was rocked by three first-half goals from Union.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich was booked for his furious reaction to an apparent infringement though it was unclear what it was.
COLOGNE’S MIXED EMOTIONS
Though it lost at home to Wolfsburg, Cologne clinched qualification for the Europa Conference League due to Hoffenheim’s loss to Leverkusen.
Cologne fans stormed the pitch in celebration though the players weren’t in the mood after hoping for more. Cologne captain Jonas Hector, who was lying on the field in disappointment, quickly left.
HERTHA LEFT HANGING
Hertha missed the chance to clinch survival after being outplayed by a Mainz team playing mainly for pride. Even so, Hertha’s Davie Selke had a second equalizer ruled out for a push on a defender.
Bayern Munich can do Hertha a favor on Sunday by beating relegation rival Stuttgart.
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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP