Borussia Dortmund sealed their place in next season's UEFA Champions League with an enthralling 4-2 win over Mainz on Saturday.
In a high-tempo encounter, the hosts took the lead after just six minutes at Signal Iduna Park courtesy of Milos Jojic's deflected opener, before Shinji Okazaki levelled with a deflected effort of his own eight minutes later.
Robert Lewandowksi restored the advantage after finishing a wonderful breakaway, only for Okazaki to pounce on a Nuri Sahin mistake to restore parity again shortly after the break.
However, from that point, Dortmund stepped up the pace to seal the points, and a Lukasz Piszczek header put them back in front before Niko Bungert was sent off for handling in the box.
Marco Reus stepped up to convert the resulting spot kick, securing a fourth consecutive league victory that also handed Jurgen Klopp's side European football for another season.
Klopp had previously hailed the progress of his former club, where he spent a total of 19 years as a player and then manager before leaving for Dortmund in 2008, but there seemed to be no room for sentiment as the hosts made a vibrant start.
Reus fired an early warning after three minutes, striking the post with a thumping 30-yard free-kick.
And Dortmund, buoyed by their 3-0 win over champions Bayern Munich last week, were celebrating three minutes later as Jojic's strike from the edge of the area took a fortunate deflection off Oliver Kirch, leaving goalkeeper Loris Karius with no chance.
The visitors protested at a suspected handball from Kirch, but any sense of injustice was eased just before the quarter-hour mark.
Okazaki's speculative effort from the edge of the area cannoned off the boot of Mats Hummels and looped over the head of Australian Mitch Langerak and into the net.
Their joy at restoring parity lasted just three minutes, though, as Sahin's wonderful throughball from midfield found Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who burst into the penalty area before squaring to Lewandowski, who gladly slotted home for his 18th Bundesliga goal of the season.
Despite struggling to contain a lively Dortmund midfield, Mainz still managed to create chances before the break. First, Maxim Choupo-Moting headed wide, before Yunus Malli's vicious 25-yard drive went whistling over the crossbar.
However, Dortmund remained the better side and nearly extended their lead 10 minutes before the break courtesy of Reus, who sent a low shot just wide of the post after some good work down the left by Piszczek.
Reus had another great chance just after the interval, spurning a one-on-one with the goalkeeper after getting in behind the Mainz backline.
The Germany international's wastefulness was punished after 53 minutes when a poor back pass from Sahin was pounced on by Okazaki, who sprinted past Langerak to slot home.
But once again, Dortmund responded with a goal of their own three minutes later, as a whipped free-kick from Reus on the left found the head of Piszczek, who rose highest to glance the ball beyond Karius.
Lewandowski should have secured a fourth goal after 63 minutes when he was played clean through on goal, only to be denied by an inspired Karius save.
The hosts were awarded a penalty 11 minutes from time, after Lewandowski's effort hit the hand of Bungert, who was shown a red card.
Reus duly obliged with the resulting spot-kick, as Klopp secured his sixth consecutive win over his previous employers, denting their UEFA Europa League hopes in the process.
|14||M. Jojić||6' 8'|
|Coach: J. Klopp|
for H. Mkhitaryan 80'
for M. Jojić 81'
for M. Reus 84'
|Lallana: ´I´ve got friends´ at Southampton|
|Boca Juniors 0 River Plate 0: Honours even in Superclasico|
|Costa Rican Primera Division Review: Alonso scores 10th goal in Alajuelense win|
|Guarani 3 Cerro Porteno 4: Late Ortigoza goal lifts Astrada´s men to summit|
|Defensa y Justicia 1 Newell´s Old Boys 0: Pellegrino saves late penalty|
|Wigan owner Whelan apologises for comments|
|Brown extends Celtic contract|
|Maidstone United 2 Stevenage 1: Seventh-tier outfit spring Cup shock|
|Sheffield United retract Evans offer|
|Blanc confident on Ibrahimovic fitness|
|Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim: Gisdol not expecting advantage from Lahm absence|
|FIFA widens access to Ethics Committee report|
|Brandao appeal rejected by FFF|
|Struggling Bulgaria sack Penev|
|Wigan sponsor quits after Mackay appointment|
|Chelsea v West Brom: Leaders out to maintain perfect home record|
|Falcao still two weeks away from return|
|Arsenal v Manchester United: Van Gaal unsurprised by Welbeck impact|
|Lazio v Juventus: Marchisio ready for tough trip|
|Castan set for brain surgery|
|Paderborn v Borussia Dortmund: Breitenreiter hoping for off-colour visitors|
|Lambert ´annoyed´ by Senderos injury|
|Leicester City v Sunderland: Pearson eager to ´reignite the confidence´|
|Stoke chairman Coates charged with misconduct|
|Manchester City v Swansea City: Monk takes no heart from Pellegrini injury woe|
|Barcelona v Sevilla: No divided loyalties for on-loan duo|
|Blind sidelined by knee injury|
|Verratti unavailable for Metz visit|
|Monaco dealt Kurzawa injury blow|
|Bony rumours will not stop - Monk|
|Pearson confident Leicester can turn their form around|
|Indian Super League Preview: Herbert seeks home comforts, Garcia urges Kolkata focus|
|League One Preview: Ferguson buoyed by McLean return, Bristol City host Preston|
|Newcastle United v QPR: Redknapp out to end hosts´ winning run|
|Bundesliga Preview: Dortmund look to build form, Bayern host Hoffenheim|
|Serie A Preview: Mancini reign to begin with Milan derby|
|Reus fit for Paderborn clash|
|Giroud could be back to face United|
|Milito: Mancini can inspire Inter revival|
|Everton v West Ham: Martinez faced with injury concerns|
|Moussi pledges salary to charity after joining Birmingham|
|Van Gaal questions Coach of the Year nomination|
|Eredivisie Preview: Difficult run continues for struggling Dordrecht|
|Alcacer returns to Valencia with hamstring injury|
|Stoke City v Burnley: Dyche urges bottom side to play with freedom|
|Reid contract delay ´probably down to money´|
|Downing has not blown England chance - Allardyce|
|Ribery not intimidated by Reus rumours|
|Eibar v Real Madrid: Leaders eye 14th win in a row|
|Buffon and Chiellini pen Juve extensions|
|Redknapp: Austin can be great like Ferdinand|
|Moreno targets attacking contribution|
|Martinez dismisses Keane ´nonsense´|
|Lahm undergoes successful ankle surgery|
|J.League Preview: Gamba out to deny Urawa title, Cerezo face Vegalta|
|Atletico Madrid v Malaga: Jimenez targets domestic run after Mexico brace|
|No January transfers for Real, says Ancelotti|
|Pardew compares Newcastle to Bayern Munich|
|Wenger not keen on deeper role for Wilshere|
|Pellegrini not giving up on title|
|I have learned my lesson, says Smalling|
|Mourinho good for Oscar, Willian - Ronaldo|
|Copa Argentina Review: Rosario Central, Huracan poised to meet in final|
|A-League Preview: Winless Wanderers eyeing Jets|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Independiente del Valle still in control|
|Zamora 2 Caracas 1: Costly loss for visitors|
|Atletico Nacional 1 Sao Paulo 0: Ruiz puts Colombians in box seat|
|Sporting switch right option - Nani|
|K. League Preview: Sangju Sangmu desperate for win|
|Barca ´just another game´ - Deulofeu|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Marseille face Bordeaux amid off-field chaos|
|Aldershot 1 Portsmouth 0: Former winners out in first round|
|AFCON Qualifiers Review: Holders Nigeria crash out, Egypt fall short|
|Neuer boost for Bayern|
|Nigeria 2 South Africa 2: Defending champions fail to reach AFCON finals|
|Kick It Out calls for FA response to Mackay appointment|
|Ghana 3 Togo 1: Wakaso shines as Black Stars seal AFCON spot|
|Bony pens Swansea extension|
|League Two Preview: Leaders Luton visit Hasselbaink´s Burton SUBBED SEND THURS|
|Atletico hit by Miranda injury blow|
|Sturridge suffers fresh injury setback|
|Chennaiyin 3 Pune City 1: Hosts go top despite Elano, Mendoza injuries|
|Championship Preview: Mackay begins with tough Boro test|
|Ukraine sanctioned by UEFA for crowd disturbances|
|Metz v Paris Saint-Germain: Champions look to crank up pressure on Marseille|
|Dortmund, Galatasaray fined by UEFA|
|Fletcher fitness boost for Sunderland|
|Wigan turn to Mackay|
|Lennon running the rule over Gudjohnsen|
|Pulis: Shawcross should commit to Wales|
|Thohir: Inter objectives the same for Mancini|
|Sinclair hints at City exit|
|Sandro: QPR are a different team|
|Sammer signs Bayern extension|
|England to face France and Germany|
|Bergara pleased with Moyes impact|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Central Coast Mariners 0: Stalemate in Parramatta|
|Alonso surprised by Neuer quality|
|Valbuena happy with positive French year|
|Shaw hopeful of facing Arsenal|
|Martino: Difficult for Messi to leave Barcelona|
|Conte wants change in Italy preparations|
|La Liga Preview: Moyes, Sociedad visit Deportivo La Coruna|
|More to Rooney than goals, says Hodgson|
|Club before country for Sydney FC marquee Janko|
|I chose to give Silva armband - Neymar|
|Klinsmann: USA have to be ´nastier´|
|Panama 0 Canada 0: Hosts hold on despite red card|
|Peru 2 Paraguay 1: Ascues inspires nine-man hosts|
|Bolivia 3 Venezuela 2: Arce ends long wait for win|
|Chile 1 Uruguay 2: Gonzalez gives visitors late win|
|Deschamps: 2014 positive for France|
|O´Neill praises debutant Christie|
|Low revels in perfect finish to 2014|
|Varane pride after captain´s contribution|
|England´s intensity ´spooked´ us - Strachan|
|Dunga plays down Miranda injury|
|Di Maria, Martino play down injury fears|
|Spain are in transition, says Del Bosque|