BERLIN (AP) " Hannover defeated German second division leader Stuttgart 1-0 Sunday to move level on points and virtually assure that both sides will return to the Bundesliga next season.
Felix Klaus scored five minutes before the break to delay Stuttgart's promotion with one round of games remaining.
Eintracht Braunschweig, the only side that can theoretically catch either side, is three points behind both after its 6-0 rout by Arminia Bielefeld, with an inferior goal difference - six goals worse than Hannover and 10 worse than Stuttgart.
Both Stuttgart and Hannover were relegated from the Bundesliga last season.
Braunschweig is assured of at least a promotion/relegation playoff against the side that finishes third from bottom in the Bundesliga, currently Hamburger SV, after Union Berlin's increasingly faint hopes of promotion were ended in a 1-0 defeat at home to Heidenheim.
Union remained fourth, six points behind Braunschweig.
Bielefeld's win lifted it out of the relegation zone on goal difference from 1860 Munich, which slipped into the playoff place after losing 2-1 at home to Bochum.
Wuerzburger Kickers slipped into a direct relegation spot after its 1-0 defeat at home to SV Sandhausen, which ensured survival.