Police officers stand on the pitch when Hamburg fans light fireworks when their team relegates during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, May 12, 2018.
Lying second from bottom after taking just 28 points from 33 games, the club must beat Borussia Moenchengladbach at home on the final day of the season and hope Wolfsburg, who are one place and two points above them, lose at home to already-relegated Cologne.
But, unfortunately for Hamburg their relegation rivals Wolfsburg also came out on top in a 4-1 victory at home to Koln, meaning Christian Titz's men dropped down a tier for the first time in their history.
The thick smoke caused the game to be halted for more than 15 minutes while large numbers of police lined up facing the end from which the pyrotechnics had been launched.
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"This is an extremely painful moment for the entire Hamburg SV", said club President Bernd Hoffmann.
Hamburg got off to the ideal when Aaron Hunt gave the hosts a 1-0 lead after 11 minutes.
As the only club to have played in every Bundesliga season since its inception in 1963, supporters of the six-time German champions have proudly displayed a clock at Volksparkstadion which keeps a record of their top-flight status.
Hamburg had taken an early lead through Aaron Hunt and went in front again with a Lewis Holtby goal just past the hour after Gladbach had levelled the score before halftime.
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With the stadium clock marking the club's record stay in the Bundesliga and showing 54 years and 260 days, fans stayed in their seats and with tears in their eyes gave the players their last Bundesliga cheer.
Elsewhere, Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund joined Schalke and champions Bayern Munich in the league's top four.
Andrej Kramaric and Adam Szalai scored for the hosts, either side of Marco Reus's equaliser, and when Pavel Kaderabek netted Hoffenheim's third, Leverkusen were 3-0 up at home to Hannover needing a further two-goal swing to usurp Dortmund and snatch fourth.
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