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Sports

Curtain Almost Down on Bundesliga Season of Few Surprises

Newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich overcame MSV Duisburg 3-2 and consigned MSV to second division soccer next season. Second placed Bremen thrashed Hanover to consolidate their place as runners-up.

Duisburg's player reacts after losing the German first division Bundesliga soccer match against Bayern Munich

Down and out: Duisburg players react to relegation after defeat to champions Bayern

Bottom side Hansa Rostock's fate was also secured as two penalties helped Bayer Leverkusen to a 2-1 win while Nuremberg's hopes of retaining top-flight status hang by a thread after going down 1-0 to a Rafael goal at Hertha Berlin.

Munich took to the field at Duisburg's MSV Arena in relaxed mood having secured their 21st German league title last weekend and wasted no time in exerting control over proceedings as Andreas Ottl made it 1-0 after just three minutes with a shot from the edge of the area.

Duisburg's defense then self-imploded, twice allowing German international Lucas Podolski time and space in the area, and paid the price both times to lie 3-0 down with only 20 minutes gone.

Mihai Tararache pulled one back for Duisburg two minutes after the restart with a well-struck effort from 22 minutes and Markus Daun reduced the deficit to 3-2 just seven minutes later with a fortunate deflected shot that looped over Oliver Kahn in the Bayern goal.

The home side continued to press in the hope of an equalizer but Bayern comfortably held on to end Duisburg's sojourn in the Bundesliga.

Bielefeld's fate in own hands

With the bottom three all losing, Arminia Bielefeld could have ensured safety with victory over Borussia Dortmund but Michael Frontzeck's side could only manage 2-2 draw.

Thorben Marx put Bielefeld in front from the penalty spot after 24 minutes but Delron Buckley leveled matters just four minutes later.

Artur Wichniarek restored the home side's lead with a header on 34 minutes and their cause was further helped with the dismissal of Dortmund's Robert Kovac with 12 minutes remaining.

However, Rowen Fernandez made it 2-2 five minutes later after an Alexander Frei free kick came back off a post.

The draw leaves Bielefeld on 33 points, two clear of Nuremberg, meaning victory in their final game away to VfB Stuttgart will guarantee Bundesliga soccer next season. Nuremberg have a vastly superior goal difference so could still survive by beating Schalke 04 and hoping Bielefeld lose or draw against Stuttgart.

Werder hit six to tighten grip on second

Werder Bremen, already assured of Champions League football next season thanks to the midweek win over VfL Bochum, cemented their hold on second spot with a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Hanover 96.

Hugo Almeida opened the scoring for Bremen with a simple tap-in on 14 minutes while Naldo doubled the home side's lead 13 minutes later, heading home unmarked front close range.

Second-half goals from Tim Borowski, Ivan Klasnic, Markus Rosenburg and Aaron Hunt made it six without reply for Bremen before a late effort from Szabolcs Huszti for Hanover.

Schalke remain third, two points behind Bremen, after a Mladen Krstajic goal secured a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt while SV Hamburg drop one place to fifth behind Leverkusen on goal difference after losing 2-0 at Energie Cottbus, a result that removes the eastern German side from the relegation battle.

VfL Wolfsburg jumped above Stuttgart into sixth on goal difference and level with Hamburg after thumping Armin Veh's side 4-0. VfL Bochum beat SC Karlsruhe in the day's other game.

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