It was a dramatic final day in the 2018/19 Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich won the title, Bayer Leverkusen qualified for the Champions League and two legends said goodbye in the best way. What did we learn?
1. Bayern Munich are inevitable
Bayern Munich came into today having won the Bundesliga for the last six years in a row. Seven. Before Pep Guardiola set them on their way to their fourth-consecutive title back in 2016, the previous record was three in a row. Bayern took that dominance and doubled it. Despite the Bundesliga being full of talent, they run the show.
Even when Borussia Dortmund ran up a big lead early in the season, no one truly believed it would last. And sure enough, it didn’t. So of course when Frankfurt pegged Bayern back at the Allianz with Sebastien Haller’s close-range goal early in the second half, no one really believed that there was a chance for the match to end in anything but a Bayern win.
So when Kevin Trapp spilled Thomas Muller’s shot a few minutes later, no one was surprised when David Alaba showed up to stab home the rebound and restore Bayern’s lead. They were level for just three minutes. And then instead of things being cagey, Bayern proceeded to wipe the floor with a very good Frankfurt side. Another win, another title. Their title-streak now extended to seven years.
Bayern Munich own the Bundesliga.
2. Jadon Sancho is destined for greatness
Over in Gladbach, Dortmund knew they didn’t have the title in their hands and all they could do was win their match. They were struggling to do that at first, with Gladbach (who themselves were fighting for a Champions League place) resisting well. But they made the breakthrough just before half-time, with Marco Reus sending a cross in that was first palmed away by Yan Sommer.
But the cross was palmed away into the path of the danger man, the one Dortmund player Gladbach would not have wanted it to fall to: 19-year-old Englishman Jadon Sancho. The teenage sensation joined Dortmund last season but in 2018/19 he has exploded onto the scene, racking up goals and assists with absurd regularity.
Jadon Sancho in the 2018-19 Bundesliga:
• 33 games
• 14 assists
• 12 goals
His first full season has been seriously impressive. ? pic.twitter.com/IilE6NlqtI
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 18, 2019
Today he bagged a goal, seizing upon Sommer’s spilled cross to thrash the ball into the net and give his side a priceless lead. Alright it came to nothing in the end as Bayern won the title, but Sancho once again stood up when Dortmund needed him most. The no. 7 has an incredible 14 assists in the Bundesliga this season, the most in the division and the second across Europe’s top five leagues behind Eden Hazard.
Think about that: there is only one player in Europe’s top five leagues who has registered more assists than Jadon Sancho. 19-year-old Jadon Sancho. Playing in a different country having backed himself to do so at the age of 18 Jadon Sancho. Doing a double-double (12 goals and 14 assists) in his first full-season Jadon Sancho. There is no way the kid’s story stops here, and the heights he could scale are awesome in scope.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
3. End of the Robbery
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have played together at Bayern Munich for almost a decade. They came together in 2009/10 when Robben joined, and now at the end of 2018/19 they depart together. It’s quite beautiful, really, and draws the curtain on a sublime era.
And what a curtain call they had! Both men started on the bench, watching on as Bayern powered to a 3-1 lead. At that point Franck Ribery demanded to come on. He knew this was his last game at the Allianz Arena and wanted to go out on a high. So he got onto the field and proceeded to score the most mesmeric goal possible. Coming in from the left flank, he weaved between two defenders before deftly chipping the onrushing Trapp. It was a majestic goal.
• 201 games • 273 games
• 99 goals • 86 goals
• 52 assists • 93 assists
• 8 titles • 9 titles
The Bundesliga says goodbye to Robbery. ? pic.twitter.com/Mef72Fygrc
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 18, 2019
Then came Arjen Robben’s turn. The man who delivered the 2013 Champions League for Bayern bagged his farewell goal in less dramatic fashion, peeling away from the back-post to tap home and finish off a nice team move. But he also kept going after that, because his neat finish left him on 99 Bayern goals in 201 games. He tried desperately to get his 100th strike, but Trapp denied him superbly.
Still, both man bade farewell to the Bundesliga by scoring a goal and winning the title (Robben’s 8th, Ribery’s 9th – a record). You really can’t ask for more than that. Well, maybe a cup win. Oh hey, what’s that next weekend? Bayern play RB Leipzig in the DFP Pokal final? Well now…
4. Peter Bosz gets a second chance
Peter Bosz was the man in charge of Ajax when they made it to the 2017 Europa League final. His playing style drew huge plaudits and unsuprisingly he was poached by Borussia Dortmund for the next season. Except somehow Bosz just never “got it” in Prussia, and Dortmund were a disaster under him.
It never made sense, but Bosz was a flop and got sacked in December of that year. He sat out all of 2018 before joining Bayer Leverkusen at the start of 2019. He had an almost immediate effect on them, helping his side climb the table; and he’s already won more games for Leverkusen (10) than he did for Dortmund (8). That 10th win came today and helped Leverkusen back into the Champions League.
And here is Bosz’s great second chance. He was always going to get another job in management, that’s just how football works, but now he has a very specific chance to shine in the one competition where he so badly performed with Dortmund. See, his side were bad in the Bundesliga but in Europe? Oh dear. They played in a group with Real Madrid and Spurs, fair enough, but they unceremoniously lost all four of their games against them and against minnows APOEL Nicosia they only managed two draws.
But now he heads back into the Champions League with a young squad bristling with talent and energy. Kai Havertz is growing into the kind of gem that will soon be poached up by the bigger clubs; but if Bosz can keep him in Leverkusen then next season should be great fun.
5. The Wolves roar their way into Europe
With Frankfurt to Bayern, there was a chance for Wolfsburg to qualify for the Europa League. All they had to do was beat Ausburg at home to do so. One could have reasonably expected this game to be tight and tense as a result. Sure, Ausburg just about avoided relegation this season but these kinds are always tricky and Wolfsburg did lose their previous game.
Wolfsburg 8-1 Augsburg FT:
Wolfsburg qualify for next season's Europa League after demolishing Augsburg on the final day of the Bundesliga season. pic.twitter.com/NQ7fbX8okQ
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 18, 2019
But when they got the chance, they went for the kill. Wolfsburg grabbed Ausburg in their jaws and tore them limb from limb. It was 3-0 at half-time, but eager to put things to bed they scored a frankly absurd three goals in five second half minutes to make it 6-0.
When Ausburg dared to pick up a consolation effort, Wolfsburg roared once more and stuck two goals past them to put the cap on a magical afternoon. The gigantic striker Wout Weghorst bagged a hat-trick, taking his tally up to 17 goals which is an impressive tally for his first season in the Bundesliga. Watch out for the Wolves in next season’s Europa League, they’ve got bite!