The three teams vying for promotion to the Bundesliga all lost on Sunday, leaving the top four in order after the final day of the season.
Arminia Bielefeld and Stuttgart are going up, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Paderborn are going down, and the promotion playoff match is set after the final weekend of league soccer in Germany.
Stuttgart is managed by American-born Pellegrino Matarazzo, who played his college ball at Columbia.
Sixteenth-place Bundesliga side Werder Bremen will face 2.Bundesliga’s third-place finisher, Heidenheim, in an intriguing two-legged playoff tie.
Heidenheim, 173 years old, has never been in the top flight during the Bundesliga era, while Bremen has been in the top flight since 1981. The first leg is Thursday in Bremen, the second in Heidenheim on July 6.
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Arminia Bielefeld’s tour-de-force season continued with a 3-0 win over Heidenheim which cemented Stuttgart’s promotion despite the second-place side’s 3-1 home loss to 10-man Darmstadt.
Neither disappointed as much as Hamburg, who would’ve made the playoff spot with a draw at home to mid-table Sandhausen. Hamburg lost 6-1.
There are only two Americans set to be affected by promotion and relegation in Germany despite a wealth of U.S. players in Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. Alfredo Morales and Fortuna were relegated, while striker Josh Sargent is a regular contributor for Bremen.
Liverpool have recalled center back Nathaniel Phillips from his loan in Germany, sparking worries that Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip may’ve experienced set backs.
Phillips, 22, had been with Stuttgart since August, making seven starts in his 11 appearances with the 2.Bundesliga outfit.
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Sofascore rates Phillips as one of Stuttgart’s top performers this season, an 88 percent passer out of the back.
He’ll arrive back at Anfield in January.
The Premier League leaders have Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez as healthy center backs. Dejan Lovren is out until next month and Joel Matip is just nearing a return after a late October injury.
The club also has youngster Sepp van den Berg, but he’s only played thrice in the League Cup.
Emergency option Jordan Henderson picked up a knock against Leicester City, and Fabinho remains out, too.
The defender is the son of longtime Middlesbrough and Bolton midfielder Jimmy Phillips.
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Wolfgang Dietrich quit as president of German second-division team Stuttgart on Monday after saying he no longer wants to be made a scapegoat for all that’s wrong at the crisis-ridden club.
The 70-year-old Dietrich, who took over as president in October 2016 and whose term was due to run until 2020, said he never expected such “hostility and malice” as he experienced at the club’s annual general meeting on Sunday.
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The AGM had to be cancelled after about 4,500 members were unable to vote for the club’s management board because of Wi-Fi problems. Dietrich broke off the meeting to loud jeers and protests and was accompanied by bodyguards from the interior of the stadium.
Dietrich said he no longer wants to “be in charge of an organization that is neither willing to stand up to these interests against me nor is able to guarantee the smooth running of a general meeting.”
Dietrich was already under fire for his links to investment company Quattrex Sports, which provided loans to several of Stuttgart’s rivals. In his 3+ years at the club, Stuttgart has had three coaches, two sporting directors and was relegated from the Bundesliga last season.
BREMEN, Germany (AP) Werder Bremen’s European hopes were damaged by a 1-1 home draw with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga Friday.
Bremen had been hoping to get closer to Wolfsburg, which occupies the last Europa League qualifying position in sixth spot, but had to be content with a move up to ninth.
Steven Zuber fired Stuttgart ahead after 61 seconds. The former Hoffenheim striker stayed cool after he was sent through by Mario Gomez to shoot beyond Bremen keeper Jiri Pavlenka and inside the far post.
Despite more possession for the hosts, it was Stuttgart which had the better chances – Gomez spurning two good opportunities – and the visitors were left to rue the misses when Max Kruse set up Dutch midfielder Davy Klaassen to equalize with a powerful strike before the break.
“I’m sorry for the team,” Gomez said.
Bremen brought on Claudio Pizarro, who became the oldest ever goalscorer when he grabbed a late equalizer against Hertha Berlin last weekend, for the last half-hour but the 40-year-old Peruvian could not find the winner.
American forward Josh Sargent made his first league start for Bremen.
Stuttgart remained in the relegation zone with 16 points from 23 games.
On Saturday, second-place Bayern Munich hosts Hertha. Leader Borussia Dortmund takes on Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner’s father died suddenly after the side’s 2-1 Bundesliga win at home over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
The club says it is mourning Herbert Gentner and its thoughts are “fully with the Gentner family in these difficult hours.”
Christian Gentner initially gave interviews on the pitch after the game. He then rushed from the changing room to where a doctor attempted to save his father.
Hertha said on Twitter: “Everyone from Hertha would like to send their thoughts and condolences to Christian Gentner and his family after today’s sad news.”