Werder Bremen were relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in 41 years on Saturday after a 4-2 thrashing at home by Borussia Moenchengladbach.
“At the moment it’s hard to say anything,” caretaker coach Thomas Schaaf, who stepped in after Florian Kohfeldt was sacked last weekend, told Sky.
“We didn’t manage to do what we wanted to do.
“We missed the huge opportunity to equalise, which we needed.
“We fought back too late.”
Cologne’s 1-0 win over bottom side Schalke, who were already relegated, confirmed Bremen’s worst fears, sending them down for the first time since 1979-80, when they came back up a season later.
Bremen paid the price for taking one point from their last ten league games in Germany’s top flight, finishing 17th in the table, two points behind Cologne who have a two-legged relegation play-off next week.
A loosening of the hygiene rules in Bremen meant there were a 100 spectators in the stadium, mostly club employees, but there was near silence at the final whistle among the stunned hosts.
Bremen made the worst possible start when Gladbach captain Lars Stindl was left alone in the penalty area and fired into the bottom right corner with just three minutes gone.
Gladbach doubled their lead early in the second half when Marcus Thuram got in behind the defence and fired past Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka.
A towering header by Ramy Bensebaini and a Florian Neuhaus goal made it 4-0 before Bremen fought back as forward Milot Rashica and Niclas Fuellkrug scored late on, but to no avail.