Bundesliga

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Stuttgart wins German 2nd division to return to Bundesliga

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COLOGNE, Germany (AP) Stuttgart defeated Wuerzburger Kickers 4-1 at home to return to the Bundesliga as German second division champion on Sunday, joined by Hannover as runner-up on the last day of the season.

[ MORE: Chelsea crowned champions, but more glory on their mind ]

Daniel Ginczek set up three goals and scored late for Stuttgart as the 2007 Bundesliga champion finished with 69 points. Hannover, which drew 1-1 at SV Sandhausen, ended on 67.

[ MORE: Championship Sunday roundup from the Premier League ]

Both Stuttgart and Hannover were relegated from the top flight last season.

Eintracht Braunschweig defeated already relegated Karlsruher SC 2-1 at home to finish third for a relegation/promotion playoff over two games against Wolfsburg, the side that finished third from bottom in the Bundesliga.

Wuerzburg was relegated back to the third division with the defeat at Stuttgart, while 1860 Munich faces a playoff to stay in the second tier after losing 2-1 at Heidenheim.

Fourth-placed Union Berlin finished its campaign with a 2-1 victory at Greuther Fuerth.

Philipp Lahm calls quits on tremendous Bayern Munich career

Christof Koepsel/Getty Images for MAN
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Few players get to play for their hometown side, and even fewer are able to do so for the entirety of their playing career.

[ MORE: Bundesliga drama on final day of 2016/17 season ]

Philipp Lahm managed to do both while with Bayern Munich, and Saturday it was time for the veteran defender to call it the end of his storied career with the German giants.

Lahm and his Bayern side ended their 2016/17 Bundesliga-winning season in style on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over Freiburg, but with the league already won prior to kickoff, the momentous occasion was more about reflection for the 33-year-old Munich native.

“I definitely have mixed feelings at the moment, celebrating with the lads for the last time,” Lahm told Sky Deutschland following his final match.

“It’s an emotional day. I’ve experienced so much,” he continued.

For the better part of 16 years, Lahm has graced the pitch for Bayern as one of the club’s most sturdy and creative defenders despite his diminutive size. The outside back appeared over 500 matches for the 27-time German champions and captained the club since 2011.

Additionally, Lahm was a staple of the Germany national team throughout his storied career, making 113 appearances for his country, including traveling to three World Cups — with the 2014 edition resulting in a victory over Argentina in the final.

“It was my life being on the pitch and I especially enjoyed the times together with the team and the staff,” Lahm said.

“I’ll miss that of course. I’m looking forward to the time after but today it’s certain that it’s my last time with such a collective. I’ve always seen football as a big collective, setting goals for the fans and the staff. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most later.

“The past few days I had lots of distractions and training but today is very emotional. It’s very touching when teammates thank me for the time together.

“I am lucky to have been blessed by so many nice moments not just with the team but with the staff and the fans too. It was simply unbelievable.

Bundesliga drama on final day of 2016-17 season

Bayern Munich
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The 34th and final round of action in the 2016-17 Bundesliga season took place on Saturday and there was plenty of drama at the top and bottom of the table.

[ MORE: Bundesliga’s final day scores ]

Hamburg scored a late winner against relegation rivals Wolfsburg to save themselves from competing in the Bundesliga relegation playoff for the third time in four years and push Wolfsburg into the relegation playoff.

Elsewhere there was plenty of chopping and changing for the remaining European places as Borussia Dortmund won a thriller 4-3 to stay in third place and qualify automatically for the UEFA Champions League, while Bayern Munich finished off their title-winning campaign in style.

Below is the final wrap of the Bundesliga season.


Hamburg 2-1 Wolfsburg

Hamburg have never been relegated from the Bundesliga and they will keep that proud record intact. Hamburg’s hero was Luca Waldschmidt who turned 21 yesterday and he jumped off the bench late on to head home and secure Hamburg’s spot in Germany’s top flight for next season. Filip Kosti had made it 1-1 in a nerve-jangling but the hosts scored late and their goalkeeper made a string of fine saves to pull off a remarkable final day win.

As for Wolfsburg, who had taken an early lead through Robin Knocke, the have a two-legged playoff on Thursday May 25 and May 29 as they aim to keep their place in the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich 4-1 SC Freiburg

Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso went out with a win as the German champions (that’s now five titles on the spin) beat Freiburg thanks to goals from Arjen Robben and Arturo Vidal which put them 2-0 up, but Freiburg pulled a goal back to make it interesting. Ribery and Kimmich added goals in stoppage time to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.

Bayern also lifted the German title at the Allianz Arena after the full time whistle as Lahm and Alonso head into retirement with one final win under their belt. For Freiburg, they could still qualify for the Europa League if Dortmund beat Frankfurt in the German Cup final next weekend.

Borussia Dortmund 4-3 Werder Bremen

An absolute humdinger of a game as Dortmund scored a later winner via an Aubameyang penalty kick as Thomas Tuchel’s men secured third place and an automatic spot in the UCL group stage. Dortmund trailed 3-2 heading into the final 15 minutes but two late penalty kicks, the first from Marco Reus, turned the game around. Aubameyang also won the Bundesliga’s Golden Boot with 31 goals for the season.


Elsewhere

Hoffenheim 0-0 Augsburg – Hoffenheim’s draw means that they finish fourth and will be playing in the UCL playoff round
Hertha Berlin 2-6 Bayer Leverkusen – Hertha finished in sixth place and still qualified for Europa League after a big defeat
Cologne 2-0 Mainz – Koln sealed fifth place and a Europa League group stage spot. First European campaign in 25 years
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 RB Leipzig – Two goals in the last seven minutes rescued a point for Frankfurt
Ingolstadt 1-1 Schalke – Hosts are relegated but grabbed a nice point on their final day in the Bundesliga for at least 12 months
Monchengladbach 2-2 Darmstadt – Already-relegated Darmstadt score a late equalizer and cost ‘Gladbach a potential Europa spot

Standings

Bundesliga names first female ref: “Always been my dream”

Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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Referees who prove themselves should be able to get promoted.

Regardless of gender.

Police office Bibiana Steinhaus will become the first woman to referee Bundesliga matches when the 2017-18 season begins, after succeeding at the 2.Bundesliga and women’s level.

From Bundesliga.com:

“When Lutz Michael Fröhlich [the head of German referees] informed me, I was quite speechless,” Steinhaus told the official DFB website on Friday.

“I feel disbelief, joy, happiness, relief, curiosity – it was simply a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It has always been my dream to be a Bundesliga referee. That this dream will come true naturally fills me with joy. On one hand it is confirmation of my hard work, and on the other hand it is a great incentive to continue to work hard.”

Steinhaus is one of four new referees to the league, and has been officiating the second tier for six years. Trailblazer.

Schalke jerseys to have payment chip as part of sponsor deal

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Schalke’s new jersey will have an integrated chip that will allow the wearer to pay for services as part of the club’s new sponsorship agreement with an online supermarket.

The Bundesliga club says it will bear the logo of AllyouneedFresh on its shirt sleeves and that the logo contains a payment chip “so that all fans can pay with their jerseys” in its stadium.

Fans will be able to use it to purchase sausages and beer, for example. The deal is to run for four years from next season.

Players will not have the payment chip in their jerseys for games, however.

Schalke communications head Anja Kleine-Wilde tells The Associated Press “they rarely go to kiosks at halftime to quickly get a curry-sausage or a beer.”

Kicker magazine reports the deal is worth around 20 million euros ($22.million) altogether to Schalke.

Schalke marketing chief Alexander Jobst says the club is “proud to be able to present a world-first in the jersey with integrated payment chip.”