Dortmund, Wolfsburg secure Champions League berths; Leipzig second

By Derek Wilson, dpa

A thunderstorm over Mainz delayed Borussia Dortmund confirming their spot in next season’s Champions League but Edin Terzic’s side eventually sealed a place in the Bundesliga top four on Sunday with a 3-1 win.

And Wolfsburg did likewise despite being pegged back to draw 2-2 at RB Leipzig, who put their disappointment of the German Cup final defeat on Thursday behind them to secure the runners-up spot.

Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus put Dortmund in control just three days after they lifted the cup in Berlin but during the break a storm with torrential rain caused the second half to be delayed for 15 minutes.

Julian Brandt’s 80th minute strike ensured Robin Quaison’s late penalty for Mainz was only a consolation as Dortmund went third above Wolfsburg on goal difference with one game remaining in the season.

Mainz, 13th, were already safe in the top-flight after Saturday’s results and produced a flat performance which nonetheless does not detract from a stunning revival from the half-way point of the season.

Coach Bo Svensson turned the team’s fortunes to achieve survival while Terzic did likewise for Dortmund after being appointed on an interim basis in December following the dismissal of Lucien Favre.

He hands over to incoming coach Marco Rose with the team not only cup winners but Champions League participants, guaranteeing a cash windfall and keeping the club’s name among the elite.

“It was a great final push from us now,” Terzic told Sky Sports. “We have achieved both the goals we set.

“Of course we at Borussia Dortmund had imagined the season going differently.”

Frankfurt, who won in Dortmund to lead them by seven points after 27 games, miss out on a maiden Champions League appearance having collapsed after their coach Adi Huetter said he would replace Rose at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

That will not bother Dortmund, however, who sealed their berth with a strong performance and sixth successive league win.

“We have played a bit more freely in the last weeks,” said Reus. “We can simply enjoy it because what we have pulled back is sensational, plus the cup win, everything is great.”

Sancho passed to Guerreiro for an opener midway through the first half and the young Englishman jinked through the defence to provide the second for captain Reus.

Dortmund keeper Romain Buerki was tested on occasion as Mainz finally got going but Brandt rounded off a sharp break to settle matters.

Quaison converted from the spot after Thorgan Hazard was deemed to have handled but it made little difference – though it did take the Swede top of Mainz’s all-time Bundesliga scoring chart with 30 goals.

Wolfsburg were already all but secure in the Champions League next term given they led Frankfurt by three points and a substantial goal difference but confirmed their return after five years thanks to Maximillian Phillip’s first half double.

The first was a snapshot from the edge of the box and after Wout Weghorst struck the post he touched in a cross from Ridle Baku in first-half injury-time.

“I’m very tried but also completely happy,” said Philipp. “We have reached our goal.”

But Leipzig, who will say farewell to Bayern-bound coach Julian Nagelsmann in summer, fought back to go four points clear in second thanks to Justin Kluivert and Marcel Sabitzer.

Nagelsmann said his team played a “really bad first quarter-hour” but said it was not solely down to the cup final loss.

Kluivert cut the deficit early in the second half from a superb Sabitzer pass and it was the captain himself who equalized with a penalty 12 minutes from time.

Leipzig are four points ahead of both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg to claim their third runners-up spot behind champions Bayern Munich after 2016 and 2017.

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