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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 17, 2008

Bundesliga: Bremen seal runners-up spot

BERLIN, May 17 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen clinched second place and Nuremberg were relegated on the final day of the season on Saturday, while champions Bayern Munich gave Oliver Kahn an almost perfect send-off by beating Hertha Berlin 4-1.

Bayern had already wrapped up their 21st German league title, making the final day all about giving a fitting send-off to goalkeeper Kahn, who is retiring at the age of 38, and departing coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

They did it thanks to a hat-trick from Luca Toni and one goal from Franck Ribery, their two outstanding players this season.

Werder finished second after winning 1-0 away to Bayer Leverkusen. Schalke 04, who confirmed Nuremberg's relegation by beating them 2-0, had to settle for third and a place in the Champions League final qualifying round.

Hamburg SV, 7-0 winners at home to Karlsruhe, and VfL Wolfsburg, who beat Borussia Dortmund 4-2, qualify for the UEFA Cup after finishing fourth and fifth.

Toni's three goals on Saturday rounded off a great debut season in the Bundesliga for the Italian, who tops the scoring charts with 24.

He headed the first against Hertha in the third minute, from a Ribery cross, and made it 2-0 midway through the first half, this time from Bastian Schweinsteiger's cross.

Ribery swept in the third from the edge of the box with just over half an hour gone before Toni completed his hat-trick in the second half.

Valeri Domovchijski cracked in a shot with six minutes to go to become the last player to score against Kahn in a competitive fixture.

Hitzfeld, who is leaving Bayern for the second time to become Swiss national team coach after Euro 2008, wept openly after receiving a bouquet of flowers on the pitch before kick-off.

"I just couldn't stop them coming but they were tears of joy," Hitzfeld said after the match.

Kahn showed no such emotion as he was substituted to a warm ovation with two minutes to go in his 557th and last Bundesliga match.

The former Germany keeper accepted a brief embrace from referee Markus Merk, who is also retiring, and modestly acknowledged the applause as he walked off.

He returned after the final whistle to receive the championship shield, his eighth German title at the end of a 21-year career.

"I couldn't have asked for any more over the years," Kahn told reporters. "I just feel grateful my body held out for so long, and I was able to celebrate so many great successes at a club like this."

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