BERLIN — Borussia Moenchengladbach defeated relegation-troubled Wolfsburg 3-0 in the Bundesliga on Friday to give a glimmer of hope to Hamburger SV and Cologne in their fight against the drop.
Goals from Lars Stindl, Raffael and Christoph Kramer put 'Gladbach in command before the break, and Wolfsburg found no answer in the second half as it remained in relegation danger.
"It's like we weren't aware of our situation," Wolfsburg's Paul Verhaegh said. "'Gladbach was the better team from the first minute."
Wolfsburg will finish the 31st round in the relegation zone if Mainz and Freiburg claim points in their respective games against Augsburg and Hamburg.
There was further frustration for the visitors as Raffael was fortunate to escape a red card for kicking Maximilian Arnold in another incident, missed by the referee, that will stoke debate over VAR in the Bundesliga.
"We have it seems 50 million viewers, we have a video referee. Where are they all? When you see that, I don't know what to make of it," Arnold said.
Wolfsburg's defeat means Hamburg and Cologne, eight and nine points from safety, cannot be mathematically relegated this weekend, even if Cologne loses to visiting Schalke on Sunday.
However, Hamburg and Cologne are most likely to be demoted automatically, leaving Wolfsburg, Freiburg and Mainz fighting it out to avoid the relegation-promotion playoff against the third-place finisher from the second division.
Three rounds remain after this weekend.