Paderborn clinched their second successive promotion to seal a Bundesliga return, despite losing 3-1 to Dynamo Dresden on the final day of the season.
Steffen Baumgart's men travelled to the DDV-Stadion with a one-point advantage over third-placed Union Berlin, while Cologne were already confirmed as 2. Bundesliga champions.
Philipp Klement gave Paderborn the lead after 10 minutes in Dresden with his 16th goal of the season, but Baris Atik quickly replied. The Turkish midfielder then scored twice either side of the break to complete his hat-trick and give Union the chance to steal promotion with victory over VfL Bochum.
Union were two goals down within four minutes of the second half and while they were given late hope thanks to goals from Grischa Promel and Joshua Mees, they failed to force a winner that would have secured them second place.
Urs Fischer's men still have an opportunity to make it to the top tier, however, as they will play Stuttgart, who finished 16th in the Bundesliga, in a play-off. Nurnberg and Hannover’s relegation from the top tier was already confirmed before the final weekend of fixtures.
As for Paderborn, their latest promotion continues a dramatic five years in the club's history.
After their surprise promotion in 2013, then head coach Andre Breitenreiter continued to play expansive, attacking football in the top tier. A bright start briefly saw the club top the table but things slowly declined as the season progressed, with Paderborn eventually relegated on the final day of the season
Breitenreiter soon departed and the team slowly began to break up. His successors Markus Gellhaus and Stefan Effenberg failed to stop the decline they dropped down again the following year.
The return of club legend Markus Krosche looked to have turned their fortunes around but a draw on the final day of the 2016-17 season, combined with results elsewhere, relegated them to the regional fourth tier.
However, they were given a lucky reprieve when 1860 Munich failed to meet the deadline for a third-division licence, allowing Paderborn to keep their place.
After that let-off they have not looked back, finishing second in 3.Bundesliga before repeating the feat this season.