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Cologne's season goes up in smoke against Bayern

Sat 5th, May 2012

Cologne, Germany (Sports Network) - Cologne was relegated from the Bundesliga on Saturday, as Thomas Muller scored twice to lead Bayern Munich to a 4-1 win at RheinEnergieStadion.

Cologne entered the final day of the season in 16th place, and needed a win to secure a berth in the relegation playoff against the third-place finisher from the Bundesliga 2.

Champions League finalist Bayern was not accommodating, as Muller started the scoring in the 33rd minute and capped the scoring in the 85th, moments before a huge smoke bomb set off in the crowd ended the match prematurely.

As a thick, black cloud of smoke descended upon the field, the match was ended in the last minute of normal time. Most of players from both sides ran off the field to avoid the smoke, except Cologne's Lukas Podolski.

Podolski, in his final match before joining Arsenal this summer, slowly walked off as security circled the field. The German international, who grew up near Cologne, was not able to rescue his club on the field.

After Muller scored the opener, an own goal gave Bayern a two-goal cushion in the 52nd and Arjen Robben added his 12th goal this season in the 54th. Muller added his seventh of the season late to cap Bayern's second-place finish.

Bayern will play Borussia Dortmund in the Pokal Cup final May 12, and hosts Chelsea on the Champions League final May 19.

Cologne slipped to 17th and automatic relegation, as Hertha Berlin defeated Hoffenheim, 3-1, to overtake the club on the final day to reach the relegation playoff.

Hertha Berlin 3, Hoffenheim 1

Berlin, Germany - Anis Ben-Hatira scored twice and Raffael added a late goal, as Hertha Berlin beat Hoffenheim, 3-1, to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga on Saturday at Olympic Stadium.

Hertha Berlin started the final day of the season in 17th place, but moved up one place ahead of Cologne, which lost 4-1 against Bayern Munich, to make the relegation playoff against the third-place Bundesliga 2 finisher.

Ben-Hatira opened the scoring after 14 minutes, and Ryan Babel was sent off late in the first half for Hoffenheim to leave Hertha in control. Ben-Hatira's second goal in the 78th doubled Hertha's lead, but Marvin Compper pulled one goal back in the 85th to set up a tense ending.

Hertha would not survive with a draw, but Raffael added the late goal to seal the win.

Hertha had lost its last four home matches, but snapped the skid to avoid the drop after just returning to this top flight this season. Hoffenheim lost its last three matches and finished 11th.

Borussia Dortmund 4, Freiburg 0

Dortmund, Germany - Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski each scored a brace in the first half as Borussia Dortmund downed Freiburg, 4-0, on Saturday at Signal Iduna Park to end the season on a 28-game unbeaten streak.

Previously crowned as repeat Bundesliga champions, Dortmund made easy work of Freiburg as Blaszczykowski started the final match of the season with a goal inside five minutes, and Lewandowski put up a brace in a seven-minute stretch inside the half-hour.

Blaszczykowski scored his second inside 40 minutes and Dortmund cruised in the second half to establish a new record for points in a season with 81. Bayern held the previous record of 79.

Lewandowski finished third in the scoring race with 22 goals, behind Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez.

Freiburg had its 10-game unbeaten streak snapped and ended the season 12th.

Schalke 3, Werder Bremen 2

Bremen, Germany - Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice in the second half to claim the Bundesliga scoring title with 29 goals this season, and Schalke wrapped up its season with a 3-2 win over Werder Bremen at Weserstadion on Saturday.

With the match tied at 1-1 after the first half, Huntelaar scored in the 65th and 74th minutes to beat Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez for the scoring title. Gomez finished with 26 goals.

Claudio Pizarro scored a brace for Bremen to finish with 18 goals, tied for fourth in the league.

Schalke ends the season third and qualified for the group stage of next year's Champions League. Bremen had a chance to qualify for the Europa League on the final day of the season, but finished ninth.

Hannover 2, Kaiserslautern 1

Hannover, Germany - Didier Ya Konan scored in the 72nd minute as Hannover beat relegated Kaiserslautern, 2-1, on Saturday at AWD-Arena to wrap up seventh and a spot in next season's Europa League.

Hannover held the final European berth entering the last day of the season and needed a win to secure the place, but Kaiserslautern - which was previously relegated - took the lead after seven minutes through Pierre De Wit.

An own goal pulled Hannover level before halftime and Ya Konan added the game- winner 18 minutes from time.

Hannover could have escaped the final day in seventh even with a loss, as all three teams that could have moved up to seventh all lost. Kaiserslautern ended at the bottom of the table on just 23 points.

Monchengladbach 3, Mainz 0

Mainz, Germany - Marco Reus reminded Monchengladbach what it will be missing next season, as the young German international scored twice in a 3-0 win over Mainz at Coface Arena on Saturday in the Bundesliga.

Reus, who will join Borussia Dortmund next season, scored 18 goals this season to lead Gladbach to a fourth-place finish and a place in the Champions League qualification stages next season.

But in addition to Reus, Gladbach will lose center back Dante to Bayern Munich and will face an important summer if it hopes contend in Europe.

Mainz finished 13th, eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Bayer Leverkusen 4, Nurnberg 1

Nurnberg, Germany - Stefan Kiessling scored twice in the first half and added a third late to help Bayer Leverkusen secure fifth place and a berth in next season's Europa League group stage with a 4-1 win over Nurnberg on Saturday at Frankenstadion.

Leverkusen needed a win on the last day of the Bundesliga season to secure the fifth spot and Kiessling scored twice inside 31 minutes and added his 16th of the season in the closing minutes to cap the win.

Robert Mak scored for Nurnberg, which finished the season in 10th place.

Stuttgart 3, Wolfsburg 2

Stuttgart, Germany - Cacau, Francisco Rodriguez and Ibrahima Traore scored in the final 16 minutes of normal time as Stuttgart rallied from two down to edge Wolfsburg, 3-2, on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Arena in the Bundesliga.

Patrick Helmes and Marco Russ scored to give Wolfsburg to a two-goal lead, and put the club in position to overtake Hannover for the final Europe League spot from the league.

But in addition to Hannover earning a 2-1 win over Kaiserslautern to secure a Europa League place, Cacau scored in the 74th to start a late rally. Rodriguez added the second goal in the 78th, and Traore followed with the winner in the 80th.

Stuttgart finished sixth to qualify for the Europa League, while Wolfsburg was four points shy of a European place in eighth.

Augsburg 1, Hamburg 0

Augsburg, Germany - Koo Ja-Cheol scored in the first half as Augsburg defeated Hamburg, 1-0, on Saturday at Impuls Arena to cap its first Bundesliga season with a victory.

Promoted to the top flight for the first time this season, Augsburg ended the season in 14th place and seven points clear of relegation. Hamburg struggled this season and finished 15th, but avoided the drop by five points.

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