Cologne beat Schalke at home to secure their Bundesliga status for next season. Earlier, Bas Dost scored twice against Paderborn to clinch a return to the Champions League for Wolfsburg.
Paderborn 1-3 Wolfsburg
(Rupp 91‘ - Klose 17‘, Dost 25', 82')
After watching Borussia Mönchengladbach beat Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, Dieter Hecking's Wolfsburg knew they needed to win to take back second place in the Bundesliga. Opponents Paderborn, on the other hand, are still fighting for their Bundesliga life at the bottom.
The difference in quality between the two sides was there for all to see. After a promising opening from the home side, Wolfsburg took the lead early in the first half. Defender Timm Klose headed home a corner swung in by Ricardo Rodriguez. The linesman had his flag raised after Luiz Gustavo had gone close to – but not touching - the goal-bound ball. But after discussion with referee Markus Schmidt, the goal rightly stood.
Eight minutes later, Wolfsburg doubled their lead. A fantastic team goal, involving 18 passes in the build-up, saw Ivan Perisic dink a delightful cross to an unmarked Bas Dost at the back post. The Dutchman scored in his second consecutive game following a drought. Kevin De Bruyne could have had Wolfsburg three up before half-time, but his chipped effort drifted just wide of Lukas Kruse's goal.
It took until the 82nd minute for the first real effort on goal for either side in the second half, and it produced a goal. Perisic cut back for Maxi Arnold whose shot, parried by Kruse, fell straight to Dost to slide into the net. His 16th goal of the season brought him level with Robert Lewandowski in the top-scorer standings, three behind Frankfurt's injured Alexander Meier.
Lukas Rupp grabbed Paderborn a late consolation with a fantastic half-volley into the top corner, but as well as re-claiming second place with their 19th win of the season and sealing direct qualification into next season's Champions League, Wolfsburg confirmed the signing of Max Kruse after the win. Paderborn's sixth home defeat of the season leaves them to 17th place in the table with two matchdays to place.
Cologne 2-0 Schalke
(Risse 34', Gerhardt 90')
Anthony Ujah's announced departure to Werder Bremen, coupled with a party atmosphere, had the home crowd in good voice throughout Sunday. The only action in front of goal in the first half came in the 34th minute. Kazuki Nagasawa's cut inside from the left and squeezed of a shot that Ralf Fährmann parried straight to Marcel Risse. The result: the winger's fifth goal of the campaign.
Schalke will be at the center of attention for the remainder of the season. They're in the thick of the battle for the Europa League, and they also play relegation candidates Paderborn and Hamburg in their final two games. Those two sides will be encouraged by the Royal Blues' anything-but-regal performance against Cologne.
Substitute Dusan Svento should have had the home side two goals ahead after an hour. Yuya Osako played him in, but despite a mostly empty goal, the winger sent his curling shot wide of the post.
Risse also forced a good save from Fährmann with 10 minutes to play. Schalke had lots of possession, but never threatened Timo Horn in the Cologne goal. And just before the end, Fährmann had to pick the ball out of his net a second time.
Substitute Yannick Gerhardt smashed home past the despairing goalkeeper who had just saved from Dusan Svento. 2-0 the final score. Cologne's book their place in the Bundesliga for next season whilst Schalke sit sixth in the table just two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund.