BERLIN — Bayer Leverkusen underlined its Champions League credentials with a 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, while Hamburger SV and Cologne edged closer to Bundesliga relegation on Saturday.
Frankfurt had learned the day before that its coach, Niko Kovac, is leaving for Bayern Munich next season. It dropped five points below Leverkusen, which consolidated the last qualification place for Europe’s top competition with four games remaining.
Kevin Volland claimed a hat trick and Kai Havertz also starred for Leverkusen as he became the youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances. Aged 18 years, 307 days, Havertz set up two goals.
Hamburg’s hopes of avoiding the drop were damaged by a 2-0 loss at Hoffenheim, while Cologne looks doomed after losing 2-1 away to Hertha Berlin.
Leonardo Bittencourt’s first-half goal revitalized Cologne’s hopes of an unlikely escape, but quick-fire goals from Davie Selke early in the second half all but dashed those dreams.
Cologne remains bottom, six points behind Mainz in the relegation playoff place, while Hamburg is just one point better off and looks set to be relegated for the first time. Hamburg is the last surviving club to have played every season since the Bundesliga started in 1963.
Mainz plays Freiburg at home on Monday.
Also Saturday, Hannover claimed a late 1-1 draw at Stuttgart.
Bayern, which clinched the title last weekend, was aiming to celebrate with a win against visiting Borussia Moenchengladbach in the late game.