Bundesliga: Wolfsburg seals Champs League spot with win over Paderborn
BERLIN (AP) — Bas Dost scored twice as Wolfsburg ensured direct qualification for next season's Champions League with a 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
The Dutch striker took his league tally to 16 goals as Wolfsburg reclaimed second place and moved seven points clear of fourth-place Bayer Leverkusen with two rounds remaining.
"It's a wonderful achievement to qualify directly. That was the target," Wolfsburg director Klaus Allofs said before he confirmed the signing of Germany forward Max Kruse on a four-year deal from Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Paderborn started well but Timm Klose scored against the run of play with a header from a corner in the 15th minute.
Dost converted at the back post 10 minutes later after Ivan Perisic floated a cross over Paderborn keeper Lukas Kruse and he sealed the win on a rebound in the 82nd after Kruse saved Maximilian Arnold's initial shot.
"Unfortunately there was a time when I wasn't scoring but I think 16 is in order," Dost said. "Now I want to keep it going."
Lukas Rupp scored Paderborn's consolation with the last kick of the game, but his side stayed second from bottom, one point above Stuttgart, and level on 31 points with Hannover and Freiburg.
Hamburger SV had 32 points and Hertha Berlin had 34 with two games to play.
Cologne defeated Schalke 2-0 in the late game to ensure Bundesliga survival and place the visiting side's Europa League qualification in danger.
"The remarkable thing is that we got through the rounds relatively consistently with the second-division squad and few changes," said Cologne general manager Joerg Schmadtke, whose side was promoted last season.
Marcel Risse scored in the 34th, calmly slotting home the rebound after Ralf Faehrmann saved Japanese midfielder Kazuki Nagasawa's effort following a well-worked team move.
Nagasawa set up Cologne substitute Dusan Svento in the 61st, but he sent the ball wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The 21-year-old Yannick Gerhardt finally sealed the win with his first Bundesliga goal in the 89th.
Schalke has only one win from eight Bundesliga games since the side beat Real Madrid 4-3 away in the Champions League.
Roberto di Matteo's side slipped to sixth, two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen, both targeting the last Europa League qualification place.