* Cologne relegated
* Hertha get playoff lifeline
* Champions Dortmund finish in style
(adds Dortmund quotes, details)
By Karolos Grohmann
BERLIN, May 5 (Reuters) - Cologne tumbled into the German
second division on Saturday as Hertha Berlin grabbed the
lifeline of a relegation playoff and champions Borussia
Dortmund thumped Freiburg 4-0 to set a Bundesliga season points
Dortmund, with two goals each from Jakub Blaszczykowski and
Robert Lewandowski, finished on 81 points, eight ahead of Bayern
Munich who crushed Cologne 4-1 before their German Cup and
Champions League finals this month.
"My team showed character and did not allow any doubts to
rise," a beaming Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp told reporters
after his team's 28th successive game without defeat, another
"Something extraordinary happened today and that is that we
got 81 points, something that is unlikely to be equalled by
another team any time soon," said Klopp.
Apart from the sold-out stadium another 12,000 fans had
watched the game in a public viewing area nearby.
It was a completely different atmosphere in Cologne with the
team's fifth relegation coming in the last game for the club's
favourite striker Lukas Podolski who is joining Arsenal.
Angry fans lit fires in the stands and briefly stormed the
pitch after the final whistle before police pushed them back.
"This is a bitter and dark day for us," said Cologne coach
Frank Schaefer, who took over on an interim basis only weeks ago
after the sacking of Stale Solbakken.
"It was a brutally unnecessary relegation. Not having been
able to avoid the drop despite this strength, these fans, this
power is bitter," said Schaefer, who said he would not remain
head coach next season.
Third-placed Schalke 04 will join the top two in Europe's
premier competition next season after their 3-2 win at Werder
Bremen with the league's top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar striking
twice to take his tally to 29 goals.
Hertha's Anis Ben-Hatira scored twice in their 3-1 win over
10-man Hoffenheim, who had Ryan Babel sent off, and Raffael
added another in stoppage time to spark wild celebrations at the
"The tension was more than 100 percent with my players but
we grabbed this relegation playoff spot with passion and
determination," said Hertha coach Otto Rehhagel, who took over
late in the season to save the club from the drop.
Borussia Moenchengladbach beat hosts Mainz 05 3-0 to cap a
remarkable turnaround in just 12 months when they went from a
relegation playoff last season to a fourth-place finish.
Gladbach's top scorer Marco Reus was on target in his last
appearance for the club before joining Dortmund.
Bayer Leverkusen will also play European football, sealing
their Europa League spot with a 4-1 demolition of Nuremberg.
Hanover 96 joined VfB Stuttgart in the Europa League thanks
to Didier Ya Konan's 71st-minute winner against relegated
Promoted Augsburg survived their first Bundesliga season,
finishing in 14th place courtesy of a 1-0 win over Hamburg SV
but coach Jos Luhukay resigned at the end of the game.
A sea of yellow-black flags in Europe's biggest standing
tribune welcomed Dortmund players on a rainy afternoon but as
far as the 80,000 fans in the stadium were concerned the sun was
shining brightly on Dortmund.
Blaszczykowski kicked off the celebrations with a fifth-
minute goal before Poland team mate Lewandowski struck twice to
take his tally to 22 goals.
Blaszczykowski completed the rout six minutes before the
break to make sure captain Sebastian Kehl lifted the trophy into
the steel gray sky amid a shower of yellow confetti.
Dortmund can now prepare for the German Cup final on May 12
and a possible domestic double.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Mark Meadows and Ed
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