Football Features

Utter humiliation for Dortmund & a great escape for Werder Bremen on the 2019/20 Bundesliga final day

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:40, 27 June 2020

The 57th season of the Bundesliga concluded this afternoon with all 18 teams in action.

Even though Bayern Munich wrapped up their eighth consecutive league title with two games left to play, it didn’t mean the final matchday was bereft of storylines.

Up and down the league there were plenty of loose ends that needed to be tied. This included the allocation of various European places and deciding who goes down.

With so much happening, it’s only natural if you miss an important event or two. But don’t fret, Squawka is here, with a couple things you might have missed from the final Bundesliga matchday of 2019/20.

1. Assist-König

Thomas Müller will look back on the 2019/20 season as a pivotal one in his already illustrious career. Had the previous administration of Niko Kovac remained, Bayern’s self-confessed ‘interpreter of space’ may have left the Bavarian giants earlier this year. By all accounts, he was headed for the exit door. Hans-Dieter Flick’s appointment not only turned around Bayern’s fortunes, but Müller’s as well, and on Bundesliga final day the affable forward created a new piece of history.

Never exactly renowned for his creativity, Müller’s reputation was built on scoring goals, though he’s always been the consummate team player. His selflessness this season, though, has reached a new plateau. Ahead of today’s game at Wolfsburg, the aforementioned ‘raumdeuter’ equalled Kevin De Bruyne’s record for most assists (20) in a single Bundesliga season. By setting up Kingsely Coman inside the opening five minutes of today’s game, that record now belongs to him outright and it could be a while before that is no longer the case.

Coman would later follow Müller’s lead by assisting compatriot Mickaël Cuisance for his first goal in Bayern’s jersey. And before Müller himself got on the scoresheet, to round off a comfortable 4-0 win (albeit Wolfsburg ending with 10 men) the league’s premier striker Robert Lewandowski helped himself to a 34th strike of the campaign from the penalty spot.

2. Kramarić spoils Hummels day

Since deciding to become a footballer, Mats Hummels has exclusively worn two colours: his boyhood team Bayern, whose academy he came through, and Borussia Dortmund, whom he’s represented laudable across two different spells. Today’s meeting against Hoffenheim saw him reach a personal milestone.

The elegant 31-year-old centre-back registered a 350th appearance for BVB in all competitions. Only nine players in the club’s incredible history turned out more times. Unfortunately for Hummels, this special occasion wasn’t celebrated with a clean sheet or even a win, as Andrej Kramarić played the role of party-pooper by putting the visitors in front just before the clock struck 10 minutes.

He would add two more, sealing an impressive hat-trick (which no doubt left Leicester City fans scratching their heads) before registering a ‘poker’ from the spot. It is an impressive feat which puts him in the Bundesliga history books on two counts. Firstly, Kramarić is the first Hoffenheim player to score four times in a single game. And secondly, no visiting player has ever managed to register that many strikes past BVB at the Westfalenstadion.

3. Bremen’s date with destiny

Werder Bremen are German football royalty, but they’ve not been in the best of health lately. Today’s showdown with fellow strugglers FC Köln, who recently preserved their own top-flight status, would be their 1900th Bundesliga game. They are first club to reach this figure, but there was a prospect of it being their last for at least some time. That’s because Werder began today in the danger zone; the best-case scenario for Florian Kohfeldt’s men is reaching the relegation play-offs, but a lot needed to still happen.

They certainly held up their end of the bargain. The River Islanders were inspired and raced into a 3-0 lead before the 30th minute. Yuya Osako, Milot Rashica and Niclas Füllkrug all on the scoresheet. Elsewhere there was good news, as Fortuna Düsseldorf, their relegation rivals, were losing 1-0 at Union Berlin.

It was still all to play for in the second half, and Werder scored three more times (completing an impressive 6-1 win) whilst Union secured a 2-0 victory. All of this means Bremen have been handed a temporary reprieve.

It’s now on them to not waste this final chance, but they must navigate this next stage without legendary Peruvian centre-forward Claudio Pizarro, who this afternoon came on for his 250th and final Bundesliga appearance,

4. The perfect goodbye

Bundesliga defenders breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced RB Leipzig marksman Timo Werner would be harassing their Premier League counterparts from next season onward. Chelsea, who are finishing this season on a strong note, must be cautiously optimistic about mounting a strong challenge for Liverpool’s crown in 2020/21 especially as they seemingly prised Werner from their grasp.

Although he leaves having played 158 times for the young German outfit, Werner is undoubtedly a club legend, and that reputation was cemented when he netted at Augsburg. The Stuttgart native became their all-time leading goalscorer on 94 goals, surpassing Daniel Frahn. This strike also had another ramification. It was his 17th strike on the road, matching the single-season record set by Borussia Mönchengladbach striker Jupp Heynckes in 1973/74.

5. Sancho gone?

Lucien Favre is a manager constantly under pressure, whether deserved or not. Borussia Dortmund need to be a thorn in Bayern’s side, and when they are unable to meet these expectations you can expect a change in leadership. The squad is good enough for a sustained challenge, but they’ve been plenty of missteps, including questionable selections and tactical decisions. All of this raises doubts regarding the future of mercurial forward Jadon Sancho, who yet again started on the bench.

By the time he came on, after the half-time interval, the game was seemingly gone. It was unfair to ask him to turn things around, but the England international tried. Now the season is over, will this game mark his final outing for BVB?

Especially as there’s growing interest from back home, notably Manchester United.

Liverpool are also linked, though Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, who guided Dortmund to their most recent championship, is doubtful of a move this summer.

“The red shirt [of Liverpool] would suit very well,” he told German newspaper Bild. “I don’t think such a transfer will be possible this season. He [Sancho] is a very interesting player. If he’s coming to Liverpool I would be the most surprised of all of us.”

6. European places sorted

Borussia Mönchengladbach will once again dine at Europe’s top table after running out narrow 2-1 winners against Hertha Berlin. This win for Marco Rose’s team means Champions League football is returning to Borussia-Park after a three year absence. Bayer Leverkusen, despite winning 1-0 against Mainz 05, must settle for Europa League football next term.

Wolfsburg’s humbling loss to champions Bayern coupled with Hoffenheim’s impressive outing against Borussia Dortmund sees the latter leapfrog them and consequently means they don’t have to go through Europa League qualifying, which can be an arduous and exhausting phase and even more so this summer with domestic leagues finishing this late.