Arminia Bielefeld were relegated from the Bundesliga today after managing only a draw at home to Hannover on the final day of the season.
Veteran coach Jorg Berger, who took over from Michael Frontzeck just four days ago, could not have hoped for a better start as Mario Eggimann put through his own net after 115 seconds.
However, Arminia wasted several good opportunities to extend their lead and were made to pay when Jiri Stajner (57) and Sergio Pinto (84) turned the game around.
A 90th-minute goal from Artur Wichniarek nicked a point for the hosts but was not enough for them to avoid the drop.
Only a win would have assured Arminia a place in next week's play-off and, much to the delight of the sell-out crowd of 27,300 fans, they grabbed a dream start when Eggimann diverted a cross from Oliver Kirch into his own net.
Robert Tesche could have doubled the lead in the 15th minute after being put in the clear by Chris Kantongo. He rounded Robert Enke but his cross was swept away by the defence.
The 96ers, who were hammered 5-0 by Wolfsburg last weekend, had their first chance in the 20th minute when Arnold Bruggink pulled the trigger from 25 yards. Dennis Eilhoff deflected the ball away for a corner, which saw Vlad Munteanu clear a header off the goal-line.
Wichniarek then failed to knock home a pinpoint cross from Munteanu, missing to the left, as goalkeeper Enke picked up a head injury and was replaced by Florian Fromlowitz.
The youngster denied Wichniarek, who was superbly set up by Radim Kucera, from 11 yards out five minutes before the break.
Pinto challenged Eilhoff with a long-distance blast in the 53rd minute before Markus Schuler had a promising solo run down the left flank blocked in the nick of time.
The 96ers silenced the home crowd in the 57th minute when Vinicius sent a left-wing free-kick to Stajner, who headed past Eilhoff to make it 1-1.
The hosts were shocked, and it took them until the 67th minute to earn the next chance. Again it was Wichniarek who found himself with time and space some 10 yards out, but again Fromlowitz denied him.
After Hannover wasted several promising breakaway chances, Pinto eventually put the issue beyond doubt, gently placing the ball past Eilhoff from a tight angle.
Wichniarek made it 2-2 in the final minute but it was not enough to save the hosts.