Xabi Alonso celebrates as Bayer Leverkusen win the Bundsesliga. - © IMAGO/RHR-FOTO
Xabi Alonso celebrates as Bayer Leverkusen win the Bundsesliga. - © IMAGO/RHR-FOTO

Matchday 29 talking points: Bayer Leverkusen crowned Bundesliga champions as Guirassy leads Stuttgart charge


Bayer Leverkusen clinched their first-ever Bundesliga title, while Serhou Guirassy is leading Stuttgart's charge as they look to leapfrog Bayern Munich, who are not yet ready to throw in the towel this term...

1. Leverkusen crowned Bundesliga champions

For weeks it has been a matter of if, not when for Leverkusen, and they finally lifted the Meisterschale in the final match of the weekend as they steamrollered Werder Bremen 5-0. It was another imperious display from Die Werkself, particularly from Florian Wirtz, who netted the first hat-trick of his senior career despite only coming on as a half-time substitute.

Something special was always going to be needed to knock Bayern off their perch after 11 successive triumphs, and Leverkusen delivered. Their list of records continues to grow, too – they have now more points after 29 games than any side in the division’s history (79), while their unbeaten run of 29 Bundesliga matches to start a season is another first.

It is difficult to overestimate the incredible job Xabi Alonso has done at the BayArena, and while the supporters’ celebrations will carry on well into the night, Leverkusen still have plenty to achieve this term. Not only is an invincible season still a possibility, they could end the term with a treble – they lead 2-0 against West Ham after the first leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie and will face Kaiserslautern in the DFB Cup final. For now, though, they can enjoy this monumental accomplishment.

Watch: Bayer Leverkusen fans celebrate winning the Bundesliga

2. Bayern not finished yet

Bayern's intense 2-2 draw against Arsenal in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg came just four days before Cologne’s visit to the Allianz Arena, which led Thomas Tuchel to rotate his starting line-up. All in all, seven fresh faces came into the side, including Raphaël Guerreiro and Thomas Müller, both of whom were on the scoresheet as Die Roten picked up a 2-0 victory.

After an unprecedented period of dominance, Bayern’s reign as champions is over, which can only be described as a huge disappointment from their point of view. However, their win versus Effzeh at least made Leverkusen confirm their status as champions themselves and, while performances have not been up to their previous standards, Tuchel’s men are still playing for pride.

Although the title race is over, there is still plenty to play for – their place in next season’s Champions League is not yet guaranteed, while a win against the Gunners on Wednesday would see them progress to the final four of this year’s competition. Another European trophy would no doubt make up for their domestic shortcomings.

Watching: Guerreiro says Bayern are fighting for second place

3. Guirassy leads charge as Stuttgart chase second

A stellar 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday evening extended Stuttgart’s unbeaten league run to 11 matches (W9, D2) and confirmed they will, at the very least, be playing UEFA Europa League football next term. As has often been the case this term, Guirassy set his side on their way before Deniz Undav and Jamie Leweling completed the scoring.

Guirassy added another record to his collection during what has already been an wonderful campaign, becoming the first man in Die Schwaben’s top-flight history to score 25 times in a single season. The fact the 28-year-old has managed only 23 appearances makes his tally even more impressive.

The result sees Stuttgart move ever closer to a Champions League spot, while they also remain level on points with Bayern in second, giving them a realistic chance to finish above Der Rekordmeister this term. The clash between the two on Matchday 32 could be decisive in that mini-battle and, if Guirassy continues in this vein of form, you wouldn’t bet against him having a match-winning impact.

Watch: Guirassy proud to beat Mario Gomez's single-season record

4. Mainz great escape in relegation battle

In contrast to the table's summit, the picture at the bottom is far less clear. Although Darmstadt are cut adrift in 18th, any one of five sides could join them in dropping down to the second tier.

A few weeks ago, you would have put money on Mainz playing their football in the Bundesliga 2 next term. However, since an 8-1 hammering at the hands of Bayern, they have picked up 10 points from a possible 12 to move into the comparative safety of the relegation play-off spot, while they are just one point away from escaping trouble altogether.

Most remarkably, they have conceded just one goal during that recent upturn in form, and their solidity at the back could be vital in the run-in. They currently have a four-point buffer over Cologne, and trail 13th-placed Union Berlin by three points. With Wolfsburg also in the mix, who knows how the end of the season will pan out, but momentum may be enough to carry Die Nullfünfer through.

Bo Henriksen's arrival has inspired Mainz 05. - IMAGO/Harald Bremes

5. Dortmund and Leipzig in UCL battle

The tussle for the final Champions League place is also beginning to heat up. For weeks, almost nothing has separated RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund, fourth and fifth respectably, with only the former’s superior goal difference keeping their noses in front.

Once more this matchday, both outfits were victorious; Die Rotenbullen enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win over Wolfsburg thanks to goals from Dani Olmo, Benjamin Šeško and Loïs Openda, while 10-man Dortmund laboured to a narrow 2-1 triumph away at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

In two weeks, BVB travel to the Red Bull Arena in what promises to be a mouth-watering clash. Before that, though, they host Atlético Madrid in this year’s Champions League as well as Leverkusen, who continue their quest for an unbeaten season. Leipzig, therefore, may well have the upper hand, but expect the unexpected as this fascinating Bundesliga season draws to a close.