Bundesliga Review: Wolfsburg secure top-three spot, Cologne safe

A 3-1 win over Paderborn means Wolfsburg will be back in the UEFA Champions League group stage next season.

Wolfsburg have clinched automatic UEFA Champions League qualification thanks to a 3-1 win at Bundesliga strugglers Paderborn on Sunday, while Cologne confirmed their safety by beating out-of-form Schalke 2-0.

Perhaps sensing the imminent arrival of striker Max Kruse, a transfer that Wolfsburg confirmed just after full-time, Bas Dost produced an effective display leading the line, scoring twice to take his tally to 16 for the league season.

Timm Klose headed the visitors in front with just over quarter of an hour gone and Dost doubled their advantage in the 25th minute with an easy finish following a fine lobbed pass courtesy of Ivan Perisic.

Dost added Wolfsburg's third eight minutes from time with a similarly simple goal, his 14th in the league since the turn of the year, before Lukas Rupp added a late consolation for the hosts.

The result leaves Dieter Hecking's men seven points clear of fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, though Borussia Monchengladbach could yet beat them to second.

Cologne secured their Bundesliga status for another season with a comfortable win over Schalke, mounting added pressure on visiting coach Roberto Di Matteo. 

The hosts took a deserved lead with 35 minutes on the clock, as Marcel Risse pounced on a rebound and slammed home from close range.

Cologne were made to wait before wrapping things up, but a Schalke side devoid of confidence rarely threatened and Yannick Gerhardt made sure of a home win in the 89th minute, slotting home despite appearing to be slightly offside.

Schalke are in danger of dropping out of the European places altogether in their final two games of the season.