Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim each scraped Champions League qualification on goal difference after holding off the threat of Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen.
Hoffenheim took third spot in Germany after leapfrogging Dortmund with a 3-1 victory on Saturday, while Leverkusen, who also finished on 55 points, had to settle for the Europa League following a 3-2 win over Hannover which left them fifth.
Goals from Andrej Kramaric, Adam Szalai and Pavel Kaderabek earned Hoffenheim’s deserved success at Rhein-Neckar-Arena, with Marco Reus briefly drawing the visitors level.
Hoffenheim supporters flood the Rhein-Neckar-Arena pitch on Saturday afternoon
Hoffenheim celebrate reaching the Champions League after defeating Borussia Dortmund
The home side snatched third in Bundesliga with a 3-1 victory over their Bundesliga rivals
A banner is unveiled: ‘With new power into the premium class! Thanks for the cool season’
Dortmund were dejected despite finishing inside the top four by goal difference
Dortmund contributed to their own downfall on the final day and the result means they end an underwhelming season having failed to win away against any of their fellow top-six sides.
A home defeat by Mainz last weekend ensured their quest to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for a sixth season out of seven would go to the final game.
Head coach Peter Stoger, who replaced sacked predecessor Peter Bosz in December, would have been relieved they had goal difference to fall back on following a poor first-half performance.
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
HOFFENHEIM (3-4-1-2): Baumann; Akpoguma, Vogt, Bicakcic; Grillitsch; Kaderabek, Zuber (Amiri 65), Kramaric (Polanski 80), Schulz; Szalai, Uth (Hack 88)
Subs not used: Zulj, Hoogma, Passlack, Kobel
Goals: Kramaric 26; Szalai 63; Kaderabek 73
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (3-4-1-2): Burki (Weidenfeller 90+4); Piszczek, Akanji, Schmelzer; Pulisic, Weigl, Sahin, Guerreiro; Schurrle (Kagawa 74); Reus, Sancho
Subs not used: Zagadou, Gotze, Toljan, Philipp,Castro
Andrej Kramaric gives Hoffenheim the lead in the final day encounter in the 26th minute
The midfielder capitalised on Roman Burki’s error before firing the home side into the lead
The central midfielder got the home side off to the perfect start with his 24th-minute opener
The visitors were soon back in the game as Marco Reus celebrates his equaliser
Former Manchester City academy player Jadon Sancho enjoys some first team game time
After Portugal international Raphael Guerreiro twice tested Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann in the opening 20 minutes, visiting goalkeeper Roman Burki gifted the hosts a 26th-minute opener with a costly error.
The Switzerland international, who was replaced in stoppage time to allow Dortmund’s veteran keeper Roman Weidenfeller a farewell appearance after 16 seasons with the club, rushed a clearance following a poorly executed Cruyff turn and then had the ball hammered past him by Kramaric.
Dortmund’s out-of-form forward Andre Schurrle should have spared Burki’s blushes by levelling seven minutes later.
The struggling former Chelsea forward, who faces being left out of Germany’s World Cup squad after scoring just one league goal this season, was slipped through one-on-one with Baumann before placing his effort into the side netting.
Adam Szalai restored Hoffenheim’s lead as he chips the ball over the head of Burki
Szalai’s goal came at a crucial time as they regained the lead five minutes after Reus’ leveller
The victory was completed by Pavel Kaderabek as he sends the home fans into a frenzy
The winger scrambled home Hoffenheim’s third to secure Champions League football
Roman Weidenfeller gives visiting fans something to cheer as he makes his final appearance
The veteran goalkeeper was mobbed after his 16-year stay with Dortmund comes to an end
Dortmund will be disappointed after their underwhelming season comes to an end
With Leverkusen comfortably leading against Hannover and threatening to steal fourth spot, the hosts knew they could not rest on their laurels.
Szalai forced a decent stop out of Burki before Steven Zuber’s follow-up effort was hacked away by Lukasz Piszczek.
Reus then levelled for the visitors to silence the home crowd, converting his fourth goal in four games from close range following Guerreiro’s run down the left.
Parity lasted only five minutes though as Hungary striker Szalai dinked the ball over Burki to complete a flowing team move.
And Hoffenheim wrapped up the points 10 minutes later as Kaderabek finished following a goalmouth scramble from a free-kick which included Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji handling on the goal-line.
While Leverkusen had been leading 3-0, a couple of late Hannover goals at the BayArena eased the pressure on both sides before the full-time whistle was greeted by a mix of relief and jubilation.
Hoffenheim’s head coach Julian Nagelsmann enjoys a well-deserved beer after full time
The Hoffenheim boss also celebrated with supporters by leading the chants
Robert Zull and Nadiem Amiri do a lap of honour as they take their turn in leading celebrations
One Hoffenheim supporter beams with joy as he takes a selfie with goalscorer Szalai
Supporters enjoy their moment after securing a second straight top four finish