US striker Josh Sargent (l.) could not hold back the tears as Werder Bremen were relegated on a dramatic final day of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season? - © FABIAN BIMMER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
US striker Josh Sargent (l.) could not hold back the tears as Werder Bremen were relegated on a dramatic final day of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season? - © FABIAN BIMMER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Bundesliga 2020/21: Final-day decisions


Union Berlin clinched a place in next season's UEFA Europa Conference League, while Werder Bremen were relegated, Cologne salvaged a relegation play-off berth and Arminia Bielefeld stayed up on a dramatic final day of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season. looks at what happened on a dramatic Matchday 34…

UEFA Champions League

The top four qualified automatically for the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League group stage.

1. Bayern Munich (CHAMPIONS, 78 points, +55 goal difference)
2. RB Leipzig (RUNNERS-UP, 65, +28)
3. Borussia Dortmund (64, +29)
4. Wolfsburg (61, +24)

Bayern secured their ninth straight title with three games to spare – and their spot in the top four even earlier to become the first team to confirm their place in the 2021/22 Champions League group stage.

Leipzig were also already guaranteed their place in the Champions League once again next season coming into the penultimate game. Their 2-2 draw at home to Wolfsburg secured them the runners-up spot for the second time in their history.

Dortmund have made life tough for themselves this season, but the DFB Cup winners came good at the right time. Beating Mainz 3-1 after Frankfurt’s loss at Schalke on Matchday 33 guaranteed them a sixth straight year of Champions League football, which is something the club has never before done. BVB beat Leverkusen on the final day to secure third.

They are joined by Wolfsburg, who also took advantage of Frankfurt’s slip on the penultimate weekend of the season with their point at Leipzig to qualify for the Champions League for only the third time after 2008/09 (as champions) and 2014/15 (as runners-up). The Wolves finished fourth after a 3-2 defeat at home to Mainz.

Watch: Jude Bellingham discusses Dortmund’s up-and-down season

UEFA Europa League

The stakes: Since Dortmund had won the DFB Cup and were in the Champions League group stage via their league position, fifth and sixth place both qualified for the Europa League group stage.

5. Eintracht Frankfurt (60, +15)
6. Bayer Leverkusen (52, +14)

Frankfurt had been in the top four since Matchday 19, but dropped out with three games to go after a derby draw with Mainz. There would be no way back after a 4-3 loss at Schalke coupled with results for Dortmund and Wolfsburg, meaning no maiden Champions League campaign for the Eagles. They did at least finish fifth and qualified for the Europa League for a fourth time, including a third in four seasons.

Leverkusen’s 1-1 draw at home to Union ensured they could no longer be caught in sixth – or finish any higher – and they benefited from the additional guaranteed group stage berth for a third straight year in Europe.

UEFA Europa Conference League

The stakes: Dortmund’s DFB Cup win meant seventh place would earn a place in the play-off round of the inaugural Europa Conference League in 2021/22.

How things stood:
7. Union Berlin (47, +6)
Borussia Mönchengladbach (46, +6)
9. VfB Stuttgart (45, +3)
10. Freiburg (45, +2)

Four clubs were vying for a single place in the new third tier of European competition, with Union the team in control of their own destiny, knowing a win at home to Leipzig would secure them seventh place.

Gladbach made things interesting, though, by racing into the lead against Werder Bremen, with an early Lars Stindl goal. A win for the Foals would have rendered any result for Stuttgart at home to Bielefeld and Freiburg in Frankfurt irrelevant, and with the Swabians falling behind at home, their hopes were hanging by a very thin thread.

Freiburg fell behind to an Andre Silva penalty in Frankfurt, as Gladbach raced into a 4-0 lead over Bremen, and Union fell 1-0 behind to a Justin Kluivert strike. With half an hour of the season to go, the Foals were on course for seventh.

Midway through the second half, Marvin Friedrich brought Union level, leaving them needing just one more goal to regain seventh place. Gladbach survived a scare as Bremen reduced the arrears to two, but they held on for all three points, with all eyes moving to the capital.

With almost the last touch of the game, Max Kruse headed in Sheraldo Becker's cross to take Union back above Gladbach, and into the Europa Conference League!

How it finished:
7. Union Berlin (50, +7)
Borussia Mönchengladbach (49, +8)
9. VfB Stuttgart (45, +1)
10. Freiburg (45, +0)

Watch: Kruse: "It's huge for the club"

Teams with only final league positions to play for on Matchday 34

11. Hoffenheim (43, -2)
12. Mainz (39, -17)
13. Augsburg (36, -18)
14. Hertha Berlin (35, -11)

Augsburg, Mainz and Hertha had all guaranteed their places in the Bundesliga for 2021/22 on Matchday 33, but the 05ers were not happy with just completing a fairy-tale survival under Bo Svensson and, with a 3-2 win at Wolfsburg, ended the season in 12th - boasting a better record in the second half of the season than second-placed RB Leipzig.

Watch: Svensson: “We’ll be an example”


The stakes: The bottom two are relegated automatically to Bundesliga 2, with Schalke already down. The team in 16th place then faces the team finishing third in the second division home and away over two legs in the play-off to determine who plays in which league next season.

How things stood:
15. Arminia Bielefeld (32, -28)
16. Werder Bremen (31, -19)
17. Cologne (30, -27)
18. Schalke (RELEGATED, 16, -60)

Schalke’s long-expected relegation was finally confirmed back on Matchday 30 after a 1-0 defeat at Bielefeld.

It was therefore a case of three into one for the final automatic relegation spot. Arminia’s fate was in their own hands, and Frank Kramer’s side duly saw off Stuttgart 2-0 on the final day to secure a second straight season of Bundesliga football.

Werder dismissed head coach Florian Kohfeldt in the wake of the loss at Augsburg and brought in club legend Thomas Schaaf to try and see them over the line, and a win at home to Gladbach would have clinched them a relegation play-off berth. Things did not start well, though, with Stindl putting Gladbach in front after just three minutes.

When Gladbach increased their lead to 4-0, attention slowly turned to Cologne, where the Billy Goats were still goalless with Schalke.

Sebastian Andersson - whose surname is synonymous with final-day drama - thought he had put the hosts in front, only for VAR to rule his goal out. With fewer than five minutes left, Sebastian Bornauw did give Cologne a win which took them above Bremen and into the relegation play-off berth, condemning Werder to the drop.

How things finished:
15. Arminia Bielefeld (35, -26)
16. Cologne (33, -26)
17. Werder Bremen (RELEGATED 31, -21)
18. Schalke (RELEGATED, 16, -60)

Watch: Cologne’s Bornauw: "We kept believing"