Niko Kovac’s hopes of leaving Eintracht Frankfurt with Champions League football next season were dealt a blow on Saturday with a 4-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.
It was revealed on the eve of the match that the 46-year-old would leave at the end of the campaign to take over as Bayern Munich’s new coach.
The former Bayern midfielder will succeed Jupp Heynckes at the Bundesliga champions, after Heynckes returned to the club to replace Carlo Ancelotti on an interim basis in September.
Kovac has four more league matches remaining, but he was unable to stop Leverkusen strengthening their grip on a Champions League place as a second-half hat-trick from Kevin Volland sealed victory for the hosts.
Julian Brandt put Leverkusen ahead, but Frankfurt were quickly back on level terms through Marco Fabian’s strike. Volland restored Leverkusen’s lead after 71 minutes before going on to score two more goals.
Leverkusen stay fourth in the Bundesliga, now five points ahead of their opponents as well as Hoffenheim, who moved above Frankfurt on goal difference after first-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Adam Szalai gave them a 2-0 win against struggling Hamburg.
Cologne remain the only team below Hamburg in the table and the bottom club look in grave danger of relegation after a 2-1 defeat at Hertha Berlin.
Leonardo Bittencourt put Cologne in front, but Davie Selke’s quick-fire double at the start of the second half turned the game on its head.
Niclas Fullkrug’s injury-time equaliser earned Hannover a 1-1 draw at Stuttgart, who had led courtesy of Erik Thommy’s 53rd-minute goal.