The Bundesliga Diaries Editorial – Match Day 33

For the first time since 2010, the Bundesliga title race will be decided on the final day. That is mainly down to Bayern’s 0-0 draw at RB Leizpig. The Bavarians were the better side, but they were unable to break down a defence that has conceded just 27 goals all year. Leon Goretzka looked to have clinched the title for Munich with his 84th minute strike, but fortunately for Leipzig, and indeed Borussia Dortmund, VAR came to the rescue, showing that Robert Lewandowski was offside in the build-up.

Dortmund still needed to win themselves to keep their title hopes alive. They did so, against Fortuna Düsseldorf, but like so many of their games in the second half of the season, it was far from an easy ride. The deadlock wasn’t broken until the 41st minute, with Christian Pulisic scoring in what will be his final appearance at the Westfalenstadion before his summer move to Chelsea. Oliver Fink levelled things up after the break, before Thomas Delaney restored Dortmund’s lead soon after. Düsseldorf then won a penalty, but Dodi Lukebakio was unable to convert, letting BVB off the hook. Mario Götze scored his side’s third in injury time after Adam Bodzek was sent off for Fortuna, but David Kownacki reduced the deficit to make it 3-2 in the 95th minute. That was how it ended, meaning that Dortmund now sit two points behind Bayern with one game to play. Lucien Favre’s team travel to Borussia Mönchengladbach, whilst Niko Kovac and co will host Eintracht Frankfurt. A thrilling final day awaits.

Mönchengladbach gave their Champions League hopes a huge boost as they beat FC Nürnberg 4-0 away from home. The first half was goalless, but strikes from Josip Drmic, Thorgan Hazard and Denis Zakaria, as well as a Lukas Mühl own goal, secured a comfortable victory for Die Fohle. This result now puts them in the driving seat in fourth place, with manager Dieter Hecking looking to go out on a high before he leaves at the end of the campaign. For Nürnberg, their fate has finally been sealed. It has been on the cards for most of the season, but this results confirms that they will be back in the 2.Bundesliga next year after just one season in the top division.

Eintracht Frankfurt were in pole position to take the final Champions League place, but a hugely disappointing 2-0 loss at Mainz now means they need a victory at the Allianz Arena next week, as well as other results to go their way, to make it in to Europe’s top club competition. Against Mainz, they were unusually lacking in front of goal, with several big chances wasted before Anthony Ujah’s second-half double gave Mainz all three points. After such a fantastic season, it seems Frankfurt’s campaign may end on a disappointing note, especially following their heartbreaking Europa League semi-final, which they lost to Chelsea on penalties in a game they once again should have won.

Bayer Leverkusen are also chasing the top four, but their hopes were damaged after they were only able to manage a 1-1 draw with Schalke. Kai Havertz was again on hand for the Werkself, opening the scoring in the first half, but Guido Burgstaller equalized two minutes in to the second half. This results now leaves them level on points with Mönchengladbach going in to the final day. A big win against Hertha Berlin may be enough to secure fourth spot, as they lie just two goals behind. A Champions League place finish will be especially vital for Leverkusen, who are in real danger of losing Havertz and other top players should they be unable to qualify.

Hannover are the other side to join Nürnberg in relegation to the second tier, despite their 3-0 victory against Freiburg. It was a convincing win for Thomas Doll’s side, but it came far too late in the season to do anything for their Bundesliga status. Other results on the day means that they will end the season in 17th place. They are in need of a revamp in order to return to the big time at the first time of asking.

The 16th place play-off spot has also been decided, with matchday 33 confirming that VfB Stuttgart will face an extra two games at the end of the season as they look to stay in the top flight. Like Hannover, they were victorious last weekend, comprehensively beating Wolfsburg by the same scoreline, but they were already aware that they would be unable to finish any higher in the league. The victory means that their is now no possibility of automatic relegation, at least. Either Paderborn or Union Berlin await in the play-off, with the 2.Bundesliga also to be decided next weekend.

Despite a late surge towards the top of the table, Hoffenheim are now officially unable to obtain Champions League qualification this season after losing 1-0 to Werder Bremen. Johannes Eggelstein’s solitary goal was enough to decide the game in what will have been a disappointing defeat for Julian Nagelsmann. Both sides are still in with a chance of the Europa League, with seventh place being enough this season as both Leipzig and Munich, the DFB Pokal finalists, already have European qualification secured, but the Hoffenheim manager will feel his side should have done better this campaign. Too many dropped points from winning positions ultimately proved to be their downfall.

The only game that had nothing on it on Saturday was Augsburg clash with Hertha Berlin. However, it proved to be the most exciting, with no less than seven goals scored. Berlin prevailed, winning 4-3 away from home, but not before trailing on three separate occasions throughout the match. Eventually, Solomon Kalou stepped up to score his fifth and sixth goal of the season, with his second coming in injury time. Hertha’s manager Pal Dardai now has just one match left before he too departs the hot-seat.