Bayern Munich secured Champions League qualification after an 8-1 goal-fest at St Pauli ensured they will finish at least third and relegated their Hamburg-based hosts on Saturday.
Bayern's rout closes the gap on second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who drew 1-1 at Hamburg, and means Bayern could now finish second when the season finishes next Saturday.
Bayern will need Leverkusen to lose at Freiburg next Saturday and pick up a win at home to VfB Stuttgart themselves to claim second, with only the top two teams qualifying for the Champions League automatically.
Third place in the Bundesliga means entry to the Champions League play-off round, the final stage before the group phase.
"We concentrated from the start, we got an early goal and took our chances to make it 2-0," said Bayern's caretaker coach, Andries Jonker.
"You could see how quick our players were when they had the necesssary space. We can now enjoy third place and maybe we can still finish a bit higher."
Bayern striker Mario Gomez opened the scoring after 10 minutes for Bayern and then netted his second of the game with nearly an hour gone.
With St Pauli's defence in tatters, Dutch winger Arjen Robben netted twice and set up Gomez for the simplest of tap-ins with time almost up to give the Germany star his 27th league goal of the season and 38th in all competitions.
Just before the final whistle, France winger Franck Ribery completed the rout with his second goal of the game.
A header by Marcel Eger on 78 minutes proved to be no more than a consolation goal as St Pauli were beaten for the 20th time this season.
Having only come up last term, the north German side will be back in the second Bundesliga as they suffered another relegation to go with their drops in 1978, 1991, 1997 and 2002.
While his team goes down, coach Holger Stanislawski is at least guaranteed top-flight football next season as he will take over as Hoffenheim coach.
"This is obviously a disappointing and depressing defeat," said Stanislawski. "I'll need a few days to get over this."
Fourth-placed Hanover's 2-1 loss at Stuttgart means Bayern cannot finish lower than third, while 2007 champions Stuttgart moved up to 11th.
Fresh from having been confirmed 2011 German league winners last Saturday, Borussia Dortmund suffered a 2-0 defeat at Werder Bremen, who are now assured of Bundesliga football next season.
Mainz will play Europa League football next season after their 3-1 win at Schalke 04, who were dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday after a 4-1 defeat at Manchester United in the second leg of their semi-final.
Mainz cannot now finish lower than fifth.
At the bottom of the table, Borussia Moenchengladbach are on course to pull off one of the most remarkable escape acts after they beat Freiburg 2-0.
It was their third straight victory after previous wins over champions Dortmund and high-flying Hanover.
The win leaves them 16th and they are level with 2009 champions Wolfsburg, whose 2-1 defeat at home to Kaiserslautern has dragged them back into the relegation fight.
Eintracht Frankfurt's 2-0 defeat at home to Cologne means they are set to be relegated next weekend and 200 fans invaded the pitch after the defeat.
They must beat champions Dortmund at home next weekend and hope results go their way to be sure of survival.