SC Paderborn will join the Bundesliga big boys next season having sealed second spot in the 2.Bundesliga. Hamburg, meanwhile, will fight for survival versus third-placed Greuther Fürth in the relegation playoff.
SC Paderborn held onto second place in the German second division on Sunday, winning their last game of the season 2-1 at home against Aalen. The action all took place early in the game, with Mario Vrancic scoring what proved to be the decisive goal in just the 21st minute.
Vrancic was also the provider for Paderborn's 14th-minute equalizer, scored by Marc Vucinovic, following an early scare for the home fans when Aalen took the lead.
Third-placed Greuther Fürth, dreaming of a direct return to the top flight after their Bundesliga relegation last season, did all they could on the day. Fürth won 2-0 at home against SV Sandhausen, but always needed Paderborn to drop points in order to pinch second place.
Instead, coach Frank Kramer's team will face 16th-placed Bundesliga side Hamburg in the two-legged relegation playoff. Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka, who took in a Fürth game last weekend, was in Paderborn on Sunday for what ultimately proved to be a wasted scouting trip. The relegation playoff games will be played in Hamburg on Thursday, May 15, and then in Fürth on Sunday, May 18.
Dresden face the drop
At the other end of the 2.Bundesliga table, only two teams had a part to play in Sunday's relegation battle. Dynamo Dresden and Arminia Bielefeld played each other in a straight fight to dodge 17th place and automatic relegation. Both sides were out of reach of 15th and guaranteed safety, meaning a spot in the relegation playoff against third-tier opposition was the prize on offer.
In a fiery home game, it was Dresden who lost 3-2 to Bielefeld, handing Arminia the chance at second-tier survival. The match had five yellow cards to match the goal tally, a red card for either side, and an approximate 15-minute interruption when referee Manuel Gräfe marched the players off the pitch. A fan threw a firework, seemingly from the home section, into the penalty area, narrowly missing a pair of players.
Bielefeld will face third-tier SV Darmstadt in the relegation playoff. The third-division side will host the first leg on Friday, May 16, before traveling to Bielefeld for the decisive game on Monday, May 19.