Granit Xhaka holds the Meisterschale during Bayer Leverkusen's title celebrations. - © IMAGO/Julian Meusel / SVEN SIMON
Granit Xhaka holds the Meisterschale during Bayer Leverkusen's title celebrations. - © IMAGO/Julian Meusel / SVEN SIMON

Brilliant Bayer04, super Stuttgart and king Kramarić among the Matchday 34 Talking Points


The last day of the season didn't disappoint, with talking points aplenty set to keep fans debating deep into the weekend. picks out five big stories from day that will live long in the memory ...

1) Leverkusen's magnificent invincibles

To the victors, the Meisterschale: that iconic silver plate that represents Bundesliga glory. That 2023/24 is Bayer Leverkusen's season has been known for several weeks now, yet the title winners still awaited their trophy. On Saturday the Werkself received it and in front of their delighted fans at the BayArena.

Becoming German champions for the first time was reason enough to celebrate, doing so while going an entire campaign unbeaten was the stuff no sane supporter could ever have wished for. And yet Leverkusen because the first team ever to do so in the Bundesliga, beating Augsburg in their final top-flight encounter to seal the deal.  

"I felt it from the very beginning: this team is unbelievable - great spirit, great guys and also the hunger and the quality from the players and on the staff," Granit Xhaka said immediately after he and his teammates posted their 28th league win of the season. 

Watch: Leverkusen 2-1 Augsburg - highlights

"To become champions of the Bundesliga is really difficult (and) to do it unbeaten makes me really proud; for sure we won't forget it," a beaming Xabi Alonso added. For now, the celebrations need to be short lived for a DFB Cup final and UEFA Europa League final await a side that are making history as the weeks pass. Unsurpassed in the Bundesliga, Bayer04 are two showpiece games away from going an entire season undefeated in all competitions, with their 51 games without a loss already a European record. 

2) Super Stuttgart surge to second 

Hats off to this season's runners-up, and to the man who took second place in the goalscoring charts, VfB Stuttgart and Serhou Guirassy. Trailing outgoing champions Bayern Munich by two points going into the season finale, the Swabians had to win at home against Borussia Mönchengladbach while hoping that Hoffenheim beat the Bavarians in order to make what was a great season at the MHPArena an outstanding one. Both circumstances transpired, meaning Sebastian Hoeneß's men celebrated their highest top-tier finish since they were crowned champions back in 2007.

Watch: champions Bayer04 lift the Meisterschale

Striking-sensation Guirassy opened the scoring in his side's 4-0 win with a deadly double in front of 60,000 screaming Stuttgart fans, meaning the Guinea international had netted more than once in a single game on seven occasions in 2023/24. Only Harry Kane managed to do so more times (9). Guirassy thus ends the term with a jaw-dropping 28 goals, just eight shy of Kane's Torjägerkanone-winning total.   

3) Legends bid farewell 

It has been oft referred to of late, but Saturday finally saw the departure of two Bundesliga legends: Marco Reus and Christian Streich. Reus's immediate plans post Borussia Dortmund may not yet be clear, however, that may have made the BVB No.11's final game in Black-and-Yellow even more poignant.

Prior to kick off against Darmstadt, the 34-year-old's name and number adorned the Yellow Wall in a magnificent tribute to a player who lit up the Signal Iduna Park for 12 special years. Reus responded with one of those trademark, golf-chip free kicks of his in the 38th minute to fire his team into a 2-0 lead.

Watch: The best of Marco Reus' final home game 

It was Bundesliga goal number 120 in what was a 294th appearance for the club in Germany's top division. A guard of honour greeted the double German Cup winner as he came off later in the game while a trip into the Südtribüne to lead a chant at the end of BVB's victory was always on the cards. For the former Bundesliga Player of the Season, there will be one last hurrah at Wembley and a Champions League final against Real Madrid, a fitting denouement.  

Freiburg coach Streich may not have enjoyed victory on his final match in charge of the Black Forest side. The disappointment of defeat against Union Berlin will soon subside, though, and Freiburg fans will turn their attention to reminiscing over a coach whose tenure lasted a noteworthy 12 years. "This club is my life and I’m extraordinarily grateful for the support and affection I’ve received," the 58-year-old said when announcing his departure last March.

"I’m full of gratitude that I got to experience it all (and) I’d like to thank you all." Those thanks will be returned a thousand time over from a Freiburg faithful who have lived through so many memorable moments thanks to their charismatic coach.  

Watch: Freiburg wave goodbye to coach Streich

4) Union's great escape 

With Cologne eventually joining Darmstadt as the Bundesliga's confirmed relegated teams, it appeared as if Union might be the side to roll the dice in a play-off for their top-flight survival. Sitting in the dreaded 16th spot ahead of Matchday 34, the capital club knew they would need a solid performance and a little luck to avoid the drop or even having to play a two-legged tie to decide their Bundesliga fate. 

Had someone mentioned to the Irons that they would miss two penalties before their game against Freiburg ended, it would have been hard for them to believe they would manage the necessary victory. Yet that is just how things transpired: Josip Juranović fluffed one spot-kick before Benedict Hollerbach broke the deadlock for the relieved hosts in the 68th minute.

Ritsu Dōan's 85th minute equaliser for Freiburg came shortly before Kevin Volland missed another penalty for the home team. Local heads were in hands momentarily, until Janik Haberer rescued the Berliners by scoring the rebound. Results elsewhere meant Union's Bundesliga status for next season was confirmed.  

5) Cool-hand Kramarić

Surely, on any other day, Andrej Kramarić would be topping the headlines across the sporting pages for his heroic hat-trick in a magnificent Hoffenheim comeback against Bayern. Trailing 2-0 against Thomas Tuchel's team after just six minutes at the PreZero Arena, the Sinsheimers' hopes of European qualification looked to be in serious jeopardy. Maximilian Beier pulled one back in the eighth minute of an insane opening to the match yet it wasn't until well after an hour that the Kramarić show began. The Croatian struck three times in 19 second-half minutes to bring TSG a 4-2 triumph and seventh-spot in the table, which guarantees continental competition for Pellegrino Matarazzo's outfit in 2024/25.   

"It is crazy to come from 2-0 down to beat Bayern Munich 4-2, and with a hat-trick and an assist from me; I don't know when the last time that happened was," Kramarić said, after taking his tally for the season to 15 goals. "We've made it into Europe again. We always believed in it."