There were plenty of prizes on offer on the final day of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, and with so much at stake, the nine offerings of football did not disappoint, with the league title and the European places decided in hugely dramatic fashion.
1) The title race
Top spot in the Bundesliga changed hands five times between Bayern and Dortmund this season, but the record champions led the table since beating Borussia 5-0 at the Allianz Arena in Der Klassiker, ensuring the fate of the Meisterschale remained in their hands. It turned out to be a grip they never relinquished, with Saturday's 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt confirming them as league champions for the seventh season in a row.
Regardless of the result in Munich, Dortmund had to win at Borussia Mönchengladbach if they were to stand any chance of claiming their first title since 2012, and they did their job thanks to goals from Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus that gave them a 2-0 win. However, they needed Frankfurt to win at Bayern, and though the Eagles pegged the Bavarians back to 1-1, Adi Hütter's side were blown away in the second half at the Allianz Arena.
Dortmund finish as runners-up, but they have pushed Bayern right to the very end this season and should feel confident of going a step further next term.
2) Champions League
3. RB Leipzig (66 pts.) – UEFA Champions League group stage spot
4. Bayer Leverkusen (58 pts.) – UEFA Champions League group stage spot
5. Borussia Mönchengladbach (55 pts.) – UEFA Europa League group stage spot
6. Wolfsburg (55 pts.) – UEFA Europa League group stage spot
7. Eintracht Frankfurt (54 pts.) – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
While the first three UEFA Champions League spots were guaranteed before Matchday 34, the fourth and final spot was up for grabs for no less than four clubs at kick-off: Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg.
Gladbach, fourth at the start of the day, needed to match the results of Leverkusen and Frankfurt to finish in the top four, but also needed to be wary of a large win by Leverkusen that might derail those Champions League ambitions. Wolfsburg also had an extremely outside chance of stealing fourth if Gladbach and Leverkusen both lost, if Frankfurt did not win in Munich, AND if the Wolves saw an 11-goal swing in their favour if Eintracht were to draw (10 if they lost).
Gladbach competed well against BVB but were unable to claim the win they needed, and their 2-0 loss was Leverkusen's gain. Peter Bosz's men led Hertha Berlin 2-1 at half-time and knew that Gladbach were losing. Moreover, Frankfurt were also losing in Munich, meaning that if results stayed as they were, Bayer would take the last Champions League spot.
The Rhinelanders seized their opportunity and did not let go, scoring three more goals to win 5-1 in the capital. Gladbach, meanwhile, had to settle for fifth and a Europa League spot next season.
3) Europa League
5. Borussia Mönchengladbach (55 pts.) – Europa League group stage spot
6. Wolfsburg (55 pts.) – Europa League group stage spot
7. Eintracht Frankfurt (54 pts.) – Europa League second qualifying round
8. Werder Bremen (53 pts.)
9. Hoffenheim (51 pts.)
Leverkusen's win meant Frankfurt could only hope for a Europa League place, and how they were made to sweat for it in a frantic second half. The Eagles ended up suffering a heavy loss at the champions and, after such a promising season, were staring at the prospect of no European football at all next term. However, they were done a huge favour by regional rivals Mainz, who came back from two goals down to beat Hoffenheim 4-2. That result pushed Julian Nagelsmann's side down into ninth and ensured Frankfurt finished seventh*, in the final European place.
Werder Bremen recorded a 2-1 win over Leipzig in their final game, but were bumped out of the top seven by Wolfsburg. The Wolves, remember, started the day with a chance of finishing fourth, but they can be highly satisfied with their season's work after a club-record 8-1 victory against Augsburg saw them finish sixth with a spot in the Europa League group stages. Wolfsburg, to be coached next season by Austrian Oliver Glasner, will be back in European competition for the first time since 2015/16, when they reached the Champions League quarter-finals.
*As Bayern and Leipzig are both guaranteed a top-six finish and will contest the final of the DFB Cup, seventh place earns a place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League and sixth place will gain automatic entry into the group stage.
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