With remarkable records to chase, a real relegation scrap and promotion celebrations, the penultimate matchday of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 had it all. - © Getty Images / Selim Sudheimer und IMAGO / Treese / Nordphoto
With remarkable records to chase, a real relegation scrap and promotion celebrations, the penultimate matchday of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 had it all. - © Getty Images / Selim Sudheimer und IMAGO / Treese / Nordphoto

Matchday 33 talking points: Leverkusen one match from immortality, Kiel and St. Pauli promoted


Bayer Leverkusen are now just one step away from becoming the first club to last a Bundesliga season unbeaten. Holstein Kiel and St. Pauli are celebrating promotion, and Cologne live to fight another day as the final fortunes in a dramatic season continue to be determined.

Leverkusen on brink of unbeaten season

They never stop. Weeks after sealing their first-ever Bundesliga title, Leverkusen continue powering away with a truly remarkable achievement in their sights.

A 5-0 dismantling of Bochum on Sunday evening saw the champions race within one more encounter of becoming the first club to last an entire Bundesliga season unbeaten. Bochum, like the 49 opponents Leverkusen have previously gone unbeaten against this season in all competitions, had no answer to the Werkself's slick passing and sheer drive.

Leverkusen being Leverkusen, they added another stoppage-time goal from Alejandro Grimaldo to complete their fine evening.

Only Augsburg next Saturday stand between Xabi Alonso's history men and an unbeaten Bundesliga season - the kind of achievement that fans will remember for a lifetime. 

Watch: Leverkusen make it 50 matches unbeaten with big win in Bochum

Bundesliga new boys confirmed

After a long race for promotion to the Bundesliga, the two automatic spots were decided this weekend - cueing massive celebrations in Kiel and one part of Hamburg as Holstein Kiel and St. Pauli made it to the top flight.

League leaders Kiel secured their ascent with a 1-1 draw against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday evening. The side from the Baltic coast are the very definition of Bundesliga new boys, becoming the 58th different club to grace Germany's top flight. 

The Storks are sure to rekindle memories for Bundesliga followers regardless next season, with former Schalke, Hamburg and Germany star Lewis Holtby pulling strings in midfield. Their sensational DFB Cup upset in knocking Bayern Munich out on penalties in 2021 will add intrigue to their meetings with the Bavarian giants next season. 

Watch: Holstien Kiel seal promotion with draw against Düsseldorf

Pauli are a better-known bunch - regarded as a cult club since the 1980s. Next season will be the ninth campaign their fans fly the Jolly Roger in the Bundesliga, but the excitement will be just as fervent after 13 years away from the top flight.

They are more than just a club with a legendary following though. Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine and English winger Oladapo Afolayan - who scored twice in the promotion-clinching 3-1 win over Osnabrück - are among the players in an exciting squad ready to mix it with the Bundesliga big boys.

That is assuming Irvine, the club captain, reemerges from the sea of adoring fans mobbing him on the pitch after the final whistle on Sunday in time for the new season!

Cologne not down and not out - yet

They don't call it the battle to avoid the drop for nothing. Having gone 2-0 down in a huge six-pointer against fellow struggles Union Berlin, Cologne were teetering on the brink of a confirmed relegation in front of their own fans on Saturday afternoon.

Florian Kainz slotted a penalty back on the stroke of half-time to provide some hope, but that seemed to evaporate with the Billy Goats still trailing in the final minutes. A scrambled Steffen Tigges headed leveller in the 87th minute brought Cologne back on level terms, which would not have been enough to avoid post-match tears - if Damion Downs hadn't headed a third in stoppage time to complete a stunning late comeback.

The roar that greeted the winner could have lifted the roof of the RheinEnergieStadion. Timo Schultz's side have ensured they live to fight another day, but Mainz's 3-0 win over Dortmund later on Saturday does not help their survival chances. 

A win away at Heidenheim on the final day of the season next Saturday will be essential, while Union must lose at home to Freiburg - with at least one of those results being by a margin of two goals or more - for Cologne to sneak into a relegation play-off, which would even be against regional rivals Düsseldorf. A daunting task, but you can be quite sure Cologne will come out fighting again!

Streich says goodbye

There were tears in Freiburg as legendary coach Christian Streich's long association with the Black Forest club came to an emotional end. Words can barely do justice to the esteem felt in those parts for the man who took over the club in 2011 and guided them through close to 500 matches in all competitions in his uniquely impassioned and grounded way.

Streich took the club through relegation in 2014/15 and back into the Bundesliga - then leading them into the UEFA Europa League four times in total to become the modern stable Bundesliga club they are today, without ever losing sight of their humble beginnings and values.  

It was no surprise to see Streich overcome with emotion too as he took to the pitch following his final home match in charge (a 1-1 draw with Heidenheim) to soak up the love from the Freiburg fans. The whole Bundesliga will miss him!

Brilliant Bayern boys

With an injury list long enough to turn into a short story, Thomas Tuchel placed his faith in youth in his final home match in charge of Bayern against Wolfsburg. His young guns did not disappoint, inspiring the deposed champions to a dominant 2-0 win.

Lovro Zvonarek, at only 19, certainly waited no time to impress on his first Bundesliga start, slotting an opening goal in during just the fourth minute of play. January signing Bryan Zaragoza, himself only 22, had a huge hand in the second, clipping a fine cross from the left cut back by Thomas Müller for Leon Goretzka to finish.

Daniel Peretz at the age of 23 made his first appearance in goal as a second-half substitute, with the 18-year-old pair of Matteo Perez Vinlöf and Jonathan Asp-Jensen also coming on for debut appearances. After a rare trophyless season, a bright crop of youngsters provides promise for Bayern. 

Watch: Young Bayern side beat Wolfsburg 2-0