Bundesliga top scorer
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar netted twice as Schalke 04 thumped woeful Hertha
Berlin 4-0 on Saturday to qualify for next season's Champions
Schalke guaranteed third place in the Bundesliga after
Borussia Monchengladbach, the only team who could have
overhauled them, were held 0-0 at home by Augsburg on the
penultimate day of the season.
Forward Lucas Barrios, left on the bench for most of the
season, scored a hat-trick as Borussia Dortmund, crowned
champions last week, celebrated with a 5-2 win at relegated
Kaiserslautern, their 27th league game without defeat.
Paraguay forward Barrios, a key figure for Dortmund when
they won the title last season, has fallen out of favour with
the emergence of Robert Lewandowski this term and was making
only his third start of the campaign.
Gladbach guaranteed fourth place and a spot in the
qualifying rounds of the Champions League, a remarkable
achievement after they were nearly relegated last season.
Augsburg, 15th in the table, made sure of top flight
football next season as did Hamburg, the only ever-present team
since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963, with a goalless draw
at home to Mainz.
Hertha, 17th and in the danger zone, were given a stay of
execution when Cologne, two points above them in the relegation
playoff spot, were thumped 4-1 at Freiburg.
Mensur Mujdza, Karim Guede, Daniel Caligiuri and Sebastian
Freis shared the goals for Freiburg as they took full advantage
of Cologne's notoriously leaky defence which has conceded 71
league goals this term.
Lukas Podolski replied for the Billy Goats early in the
Hertha and Cologne will now battle to decide who goes
straight down and who plays off over two legs against the
third-placed side from the second division.
Hertha, promoted last season, host mid-table Hoffenheim in
their final game and Cologne face Bayern Munich.
Champions League finalists Bayern, who will finish as
runners-up, beat VfB Stuttgart 2-0 with Mario Gomez scoring his
26th league goal of the season, one behind Huntelaar.
Gomez's goal was typically opportunist as he turned the ball
into an empty net after a run by Thomas Muller who added the
second late in the game for the Bavarians.
Patrick Helmes scored twice to give 2009 champions Vfl
Wolfsburg a 3-1 home win over Werder Bremen while Nuremberg won
3-2 at Hoffenheim, helped by a brace from Czech forward Thomas
Schalke, Champions League semi-finalists last season, will
be in Europe's showpiece competition for the fifth time.
"Schalke were better than us in every department," said
Hertha's 73-year-old coach Otto Rehhagal. "We could see why they
are in the Champions League and we are fighting relegation."
"Getting to the Champions League is another challenge for
our young team," said Schalke's Dutch coach Huub Stevens.
Schalke met little resistance and went ahead in the 32nd
minute when Joel Matip burst through their midfield and found
Huntelaar, who slotted the ball under Thomas Kraft from the edge
of the area.
The Dutchman should have added to his tally when he headed
against the foot of the post, then shot wide from six metres
just after the break.
Raul and Jefferson Farfan also missed chances before Lewis
Holtby added the second in the 72nd minute, finishing off a move
that began with a long punt upfield by goalkeeper Lars
Former Real Madrid and Spain forward Raul, who is leaving
the club at the end of the season after two years, scrambled in
the third at the far post following a corner before Huntelaar
slid in to turn home Farfan's free-kick for the fourth.
Dortmund made a bad start in Kaiserslautern when defender
Felipe Santana turned the ball into his own net in the 16th
But less than 20 minutes later the irrepressible champions
were 3-1 ahead thanks to two goals from Barrios and one from
Mario Gotze, making his first start after a three-month injury
layoff due to a stress fracture of the pubic bone.
Pierre De Wit pulled one back for the hosts in the 49th
minute only for Barrios to complete his hat-trick six minutes
later after pouncing on a blunder by goalkeeper Tobias Sippel.
Ivan Perisic added the fifth in the 76th minute.
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