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Napoli ready to end 28-year title drought

Serie A
By ESPN Staff

No Bayern hangover, champions cruise

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez was on hand to haunt former club Stuttgart and ensure the Bavarians ended a memorable week, in which they also reached the Champions League final, with a 2-0 Bundesliga victory.

Gomez put Bayern in front with his 26th goal of the season and Thomas Muller added the second deep in stoppage time at the end of the game as Jupp Heynckes' side showed few signs of a hangover after their European exploits in mideweek.

Stuttgart had several good chances to take something away from the Allianz Arena, but a combination of the woodwork and poor finishing saw them leave empty-handed and needing a win on the final day of the season to stand any chance of regaining fifth and a place in the group stage of the Europa League next season.

Borussia Dortmund remain on course for a new Bundesliga points record after thumping relegated Kaiserslautern 5-2 at the Betzenberg.

The Westphalians are just one point short of the current record of 79 points with one game to go thanks to a hat-trick by Lucas Barrios and further goals by Mario Gotze and Ivan Perisic.

An own goal from Felipe Santana gave the Red Devils the lead while Pierre de Wit scored Kaiserslautern's second in their final home game of the season.

Bayer Leverkusen moved up to fifth in the Bundesliga, securing their place in the Europa League next season at the expense of Hannover, whose own place in Europe will now be decided on the last day of the season.

Stefan Kiessling scored the all-important goal in a 1-0 triumph 15 minutes from the end to take Leverkusen above Stuttgart in the table and into a position which would take them straight into the group stage of the Europa League next season.

Patrick Helmes scored two goals as Wolfsburg remained alive for a spot in next season's Europa League with a strong 3-1 home victory over Werder Bremen, who still have an outside chance of continental competition themselves.

Hasan Salihamidzic opened the scoring for Wolfsburg after 40 minutes but Markus Rosenberg equalised for Bremen before the break. But Helmes scored in the 66th and 89th minutes to give the Wolves the victory. Wolfsburg had not won in four games but improved to 44 points - one point behind Hannover who occupy seventh, the final spot for Europa League qualification.

Augsburg secured their top-flight status with a game to spare thanks to a goalless draw at Borussia Monchengladbach, who clinched their place in the final qualifying round for the Champions League next season.

Neither side were able to play the brand of football that has distinguished them this season, resulting in a subdued performance and a result that saw both teams leave with what they wanted. Gladbach are now certain of fourth place, while the Bavarians can no longer drop into the bottom three when they host Hamburg next weekend.

Freiburg continued their hot streak in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 4-1 victory over relegation-battlers Cologne.

Mensur Mujdza gave Freiburg the lead in the 36th minute only for Lukas Podolski to level in the 47th minute. Karim Guede pushed Freiburg back ahead after 54 minutes, Daniel Caligiuri made it 3-1 in the 84th minute and Sebastian Freis ended all doubts a minute into stoppage time.

Hamburg staved off the threat of relegation for good with a lacklustre goalless draw at home with Mainz.

Hamburg have lost just once in their last six games and moved onto 36 points with Saturday's result, meaning they cannot now be caught by Cologne in the final relegation play-off spot. Mainz, who have also only lost once in their last six games, secured their spot in the Bundesliga for next season last weekend.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored two goals and claimed an assist as Schalke secured a direct spot in the Champions League with a straightforward 4-0 win over Hertha Berlin, who are still clinging on to the hope of a play-off to stay in the Bundesliga.

Huntelaar opened the scoring in the 32nd minute and Lewis Holtby made it 2-0 after 73 minutes. Raul struck with six minutes left before the Dutchman was on target again. Schalke moved to 61 points and and cannot be overtaken by fourth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.

Hertha Berlin have gone six games without a victory and are second-bottom, with 28 points but can still reach the relegation play-off spot as they lie two behind Cologne, who lost 4-1 at Freiburg.

Tomas Pekhart scored twice as Nurnberg continued their strong finish to the season with a fine 3-2 victory at Hoffenheim that keeps alive their slim chances of a Europa League place.

Pekhart gave Nurnberg the lead after nine minutes before Andreas Beck equalised in the 22nd minute. The visitors went ahead again in the 45th minute through Daniel Didavi and Pekhart made it 3-1 after 71 minutes.

Edson Braafheid pulled a goal back late on but it was not enough to deny Nurnberg, who moved onto 42 points with their first victory over Hoffenheim and they are now three points adrift of seventh place.


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