Stuttgart secured its promotion to the Bundesliga after only one season away while Hamburger SV wasted any chance of a return from Germany’s second division in the final round on Sunday.
Stuttgart finished runner-up, 10 points behind already promoted Arminia Bielefeld, despite a 3-1 loss at home to Darmstadt. Former Germany striker Mario Gomez scored Stuttgart’s goal in what may have been his last game for the club.
Hamburg started one point behind third-place Heidenheim. With a superior goal difference, a draw would have been enough for Hamburg to capitalize on Heidenheim’s 3-0 defeat at Bielefeld and finish in the promotion playoff spot. But former Bundesliga heavyweight Hamburg slumped to a 5-1 loss at home to SV Sandhausen, which only had pride to play for on the final day.
Former Hamburg midfielder Dennis Diekmeier scored Sandhausen’s fifth goal to rub salt in his former side’s wounds. It was only his second goal all season.
Hamburg was the last team to have played every season of the Bundesliga since the league was founded in 1963 until “der Dino” as it's affectionately known was finally relegated after a number of close calls in 2018.
Heidenheim next faces a two-leg playoff against Werder Bremen, which finished third from last in the Bundesliga, to see which side plays in the top flight next season.
Nuremberg, which was relegated from the Bundesliga last season, dropped third from last in the second division after a 1-1 draw at Holstein Kiel, meaning Nuremberg must win a playoff against a third-division team to avoid a second straight relegation. Its opponent is not yet known.