Munich - GOAL! The Bundesliga Magazine is the DFL's weekly TV programme, offering a global audience a unique perspective on Germany's top flight throughout the season. In-depth previews of the upcoming action feature alongside exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes reports, the best goals from the latest league encounters and much more besides. Coming up this week...
Drama at the bottom
There's excitement and tension aplenty still in store in the South West as 1899 Hoffenheim and 1. FC Kaiserslautern prepare to go head-to-head in the promotion/relegation play-off but that aside, the 50th season of the Bundesliga is a wrap. GOAL! is likewise bowing out for the summer with a final programme dedicated to some of the best the German top flight has had to offer, both individually and collectively, in what has been a remarkable campaign - and it's going to be well worth checking out.
Three teams went into Matchday 34 knowing that by the end of play, one of them would be dropping straight down to Bundesliga 2 and another would still face a nail-biting trial by play-off for survival. FC Augsburg, in decent form and at home to relegated Greuther Fürth, appeared to hold the strongest cards, while Fortuna Düsseldorf, whose form had nosedived over the second season-half, knew that a draw at Hannover would nonetheless all but certainly be enough to keep them afloat. 1899 Hoffenheim, two points adrift of both their rivals, faced the onerous task of having to win at Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund - and rely on at least one result elsewhere going their way. As full-time approached, the outcome seemed fairly cut and dried, but then events took a dramatic twist.
The new champions
In the final instalment of our four-part FC Bayern Munich special, we turn our attention to the record champions' record-breaking feats in 2012/13. It's a not-inconsiderable list, kicking off with eight straight wins to start the season and culminating in the final-day victory at Mönchengladbach that saw Jupp Heynckes's team become the first to crack the 90-point barrier. An overview of the Bundesliga best-marks sent tumbling by the men from Munich, including a look at some of the key games in their history-making march to the title.
The man who pipped Robert Lewandowski at the post for the coveted top scorer's cannon this season was Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kießling. The 90th-minute deadlock-breaker at Hamburger SV on the final matchday took him up to 25 for the season, one ahead of his Dortmund rival. A decade after making his Bundesliga debut, and three years after himself losing out to Edin Dzeko at the death, Kießling has thus become the second Bayer player to top the chart, following in the bootsteps of Ulf Kirsten - who managed it three times. An exemplary team player, with seven assists to his name as well in the season just ended, the 29-year-old Franconian swiftly attributed his trophy-winning success to his team-mates - and said the cannon will be taking up residence in the children's room at home.
Coach of the Year
Long respected for his work at youth level, Christian Streich was an unknown quantity to the Bundesliga-following public at large when he somewhat reluctantly stepped up to replace Marcus Sorg as head coach of SC Freiburg just under 18 months ago. The first thing he did was bring a number of his U-19 charges with him and, along with several slightly older youth system graduates already established in the senior squad, they formed the nucleus of a literally rejuvenated team which Streich guided from the foot of the table to safety with something to spare, and in impressive style. This season, coach and players picked up where they left off last and the end result is a place in Europe for the provincial club from the Black Forest region.
3 Minutes with...
... Joachim Löw. A prolific striker for SC Freiburg in his own playing days, Jogi Löw has overseen the renaissance of a German national team admired perhaps more than ever before as much for its technique and pizzazz as its durability and competitiveness. His office has undoubtedly benefited as well from the major overhaul of the club academy system introduced just over a decade ago - as indeed has the professional game in Germany as a whole, with the upcoming Champions League final at Wembley also an undoubted part of that legacy. Löw certainly has plenty of grounds for cheer these days.
Best of Season
How better to wind it all down for the summer than with a look at some of the most spectacular goals of the Bundesliga's 50th season - and there is certainly no shortage of choice.