An injury-time goal from Bochum’s Keven Schlotterbeck sent Hertha Berlin back to the second division, with a 1-1 draw in the German capital on Saturday.
Dead last coming into the weekend, Hertha appeared poised to delay relegation for at least another week when Lucas Tousart headed in a second-half goal at Berlin’s Olympic stadium.
But Schlotterbeck’s header in the fourth minute of injury time secured Bochum a draw and sent Hertha back to the second division after a decade in the Bundesliga.
“We don’t have to be ashamed of our performance today, we didn’t get relegated because of today,” Hertha manager Pal Dardai said after the match.
Berlin-born midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, who started his career at Hertha, then moving to Tottenham, AC Milan and Barcelona before returning, said with tears in his eyes: “You can’t blame the team, relegation wasn’t about today.
“I just love the club, it’s just bitter.”
Bochum’s point means they climb one place clear of the relegation zone with one week remaining.
– Polter gives Schalke a lifeline –
Elsewhere, Schalke striker Sebastian Polter scored late at home against Eintracht Frankfurt to give his side a 2-2 draw, claiming a crucial point against the drop.
Schalke, promoted at the start of the season, took the lead in the first minute as captain Simon Terodde headed in a free kick.
Daichi Kamada equalised 20 minutes later for the visitors and Tuta gave Frankfurt the lead 15 minutes into the second half, before Polter scored just his second of the season with five minutes remaining.
Union Berlin wasted a chance to close in on a first-ever Champions League appearance, losing 4-2 at Hoffenheim.
Union fell behind 2-0 following errors from Portuguese centre-back Diogo Leite.
Leite headed a ball goalwards into the path of Hoffenheim’s Ihlas Bebou, who scored the opener, and then gave away a penalty which was converted by Andrej Kramaric.
Dutch defender Danilho Doekhi pulled a goal back for the visitors in first-half injury time, heading in a cross from captain Christopher Trimmel.
With Union pushing for an equaliser, Kramaric scored with one minute remaining to secure a 3-1 lead.
Both sides scored a goal in injury time as Hoffenheim climbed four clear of the relegation spots.
Werder Bremen ensured another year in the top division with a 1-1 draw at home against Cologne.
A first-half goal by Steffen Tigges gave Cologne the lead but Romano Schmid scored late in the second half to snare a point for the home side.
Bremen were promoted before the season after one year in the second division — their first relegation in 40 years.
In Saturday’s late game, Bayern Munich can go four points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund with one game remaining when they host RB Leipzig.
Dortmund, chasing their first league title in ten years, play Augsburg on Sunday.