Schalke clinch Champions League place
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Last Updated: Saturday, April 28, 2012, 23:07
  
Schalke clinch Champions League place
Berlin: Bundesliga top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar struck twice for Schalke to secure automatic qualification for next season`s Champions League with a 4-0 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Huntelaar scored in the 32nd minute before taking his season tally to 27 in the 88th, with Lewis Holtby and Raul Gonzalez - playing in his last game at home for Schalke - also scoring.

Freiburg`s 4-1 win over Cologne saved Hertha from automatic relegation for now. Hertha is two points behind Cologne in the relegation playoff place heading to the final weekend`s games.

Augsburg and Hamburger SV are safe after 0-0 draws at Borussia Moenchengladbach and at home against Mainz respectively.

Borussia Dortmund - which clinched the title last weekend - celebrated with a 5-2 win at already-relegated Kaiserslautern, extending its record unbeaten run to 27 games.


Second-place Bayern Munich defeated Stuttgart 2-0, allowing Bayer Leverkusen to move into fifth with a 1-0 win over Hannover.

Wolfsburg boosted its Europa League hopes with a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen, and Nuremberg won 3-2 at Hoffenheim.

Huntelaar opened the scoring with a crisp shot through Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft`s legs, before Holtby finally sealed Schalke`s win in the 71st minute.

Raul signed off in front of the home fans with a close-range finish after a Schalke corner in the 84th, and then headed on a free kick for his former Real Madrid teammate Huntelaar to score his second. It was Huntelaar`s 46th goal in all competitions this season.

Cologne failed to take advantage of Hertha`s loss despite Lukas Podolski`s 47-minute equalizer after Mensur Mujdza put Freiburg ahead in the 36th.

Karim Guede restored Freiburg`s lead in the 54th, Daniel Caligiuri scored with a fantastic strike in the 84th, before Sebastian Freis rounded off the scoring against his former side in injury time.

Cologne, which has conceded 71 goals this season, hosts Champions League finalist Bayern next weekend, while Hertha welcomes Hoffenheim led by former coach Marcus Babbel.

Kaiserslautern took the lead against Dortmund in the 16th, when the unfortunate Felipe Santana deflected Konstantinos Fortounis` cross into his own goal.

Lucas Barrios responded straight away, beating the much taller Rodnei to Mats Hummels` cross to head beyond Tobias Sippel, and then Ivan Perisic crossed for Barrios to score again in the 22nd.

Mario Goetze marked his first start since injury cut his season short in December by scoring with a cool finish to the far corner in the 33rd for 3-1.

Pierre De Wit pulled one back in the 49th, but Barrios completed his hat trick in the 55th, after a mistake from Tobias Sippel.

Perisic, who forced the Kaiserslautern goalkeeper into the mistake, hit the post before combining with Shinji Kagawa to complete the scoring in the 76th.

Dortmund would set a Bundesliga record haul of 81 points with a win against Freiburg at home next Saturday, before it turns attention to the German Cup final against Bayern on May 12.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes made eight changes to the side that lined up for Wednesday`s Champions League semifinal, with Holger Badstuber, Luiz Gustavo and Mario Gomez the only survivors from the team that overcame Real Madrid on penalties.

Georg Niedermeier and Shinji Okazaki both hit the crossbar for Stuttgart before Thomas Mueller crossed for Mario Gomez to claim his 26th goal of the season in the 32nd.

Mueller completed the scoring in injury time, when he was one of a number of players queuing to score after a counterattack.

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack was thanked for his service to Leverkusen but had to be happy with a place in the reserves against Hannover. He was on the pitch to see Stefan Kiessling score the all-important goal in the 75th.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012, 23:07


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