The result leaves 1899 two points adrift of the latter duo going into the final round of Bundesliga matches and, with a significantly inferior goal difference, effectively requiring both to lose next weekend while they themselves win at UEFA Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund.
Hamburg in charge
First-half goals from Heung-Min Son and Dennis Aogo left Markus Gisdol's hosts with a mini-mountain to climb after the interval and Petr Jiracek's third on 59 minutes effectively put the Red Shorts out of sight. Kevin Volland pulled one back straight away but by the time Artjoms Rudnevs wrapped up the scoring in the 88th minute, there was little remaining doubt about the outcome. For their part, Hamburg remain seventh and still in with a shout of overhauling Frankfurt and claiming a Europa League place at the last.
Son got the ball rolling for the visitors in the 18th minute, heading home his twelfth goal of the campaign from a Dennis Diekmeier cross. After Hamburg had missed a couple of decent opportunities to increase that lead, they then did so ten minutes before half time, Son turning provider to tee up Dennis Aogo after rounding home keeper Koen Casteels.
Game over for Hoffenheim
With little left to lose, Hoffenheim went on the offensive in the latter part of the first half and at the start of the second, but their sole reward was another goal against, Jiracek the scorer on the hour mark. Volland's swift response gave offered the short-lived hope of a fightback, but for all the home side's subsequent pressing they were unable to further close the gap and sub Rudnevs duly rounded out the scoring near the end.
Line-ups and statistics