ROSTOCK, May 9 (Bundesliga) - Bavarian football has enjoyed prouder weekends than this.
A day after the title slipped away from Bayern Munich, city rivals 1860 look to be bound for the second division after a crushing defeat at the hands of Hansa Rostock.
With two games left to play, they trail both Kaiserslautern and Hertha Berlin by four points and such gaps are rarely bridged so late in football seasons.
The glimmer of hope is provided by the fact they are at home to Hertha next week, and might therefore pull to within one point of safety.
But judging by this performance, 1860 are heading only one way - down.
Rene Rydlewicz fired a warning shot in the 14th minute when his free-kick from 25 yards forced a brilliant save from 1860 goalkeeper Michael Hofmann, tipping the ball round the post when it was destined for the top corner.
But Hofmann was then partly to blame a minute later when Hansa went in front.
A long ball forward by Magnus Arvidsson prompted Hofmann to tear out of his penalty area and head the ball away.
Unfortunately for Hofmann, his attempted clearance only found Martin Max and he drilled the ball home from 25 yards with the goalkeeper stranded.
Paul Agostino responded for 1860 with a 12-yard strike, but the former Bristol City striker failed to get the requisite power behind the shot and goalkeeper Mathias Schober made a comfortable save.
Having reached the break at 1-0 down, the last thing 1860 could afford was to concede a second goal early in the second half.
They needed to settle and find a way back into the match, but the plan was ruined when, in the 48th minute, Torben Hoffmann was adjudged to have pushed Max in the penalty area.
A spot-kick was duly awarded, goalkeeper Hofmann was booked for protesting, and Rydlewicz made no mistake with his penalty, firing into the left corner of the net.
The busy Hofmann made a fine save 10 minutes later after Arvidsson had beat two defenders on a run into the penalty area, and in the 78th minute he denied Max whose volley was parried by the goalkeeper. Rade Prica fired the rebound into the side-netting.
A fine win for the hosts was wrapped up seven minutes from full-time when Razundara Tjikuzu tucked away a chance from six yards after Prica's pass from the left.