Coming up in our April review...
April saw FC Bayern wrap up their long-anticipated title defence but the record champions did not head into May in a state of undivided joy for all that, although vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger did have personal grounds for celebration. Jürgen Klopp meanwhile broke the surprise news of his imminent departure from Dortmund, whom he has rebuilt to be Bayern's most persistent rivals over his seven years in charge. Hamburg and Hannover had even more pressing head coach matters of their own, while Leverkusen's concerns were of an altogether more elevated nature. We head back to the bottom for our Player of the Month – the penultimate one of this intriguing Bundesliga season.
Another title in the bag with something to spare, but it was not all good news for FC Bayern München in April. Comprehensively through, in the end, to the last four of the UEFA Champions League and with an unblemished top-flight balance of four wins and four clean sheets, the re-crowned champions saved the worst till last. A home defeat on penalties to arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Cup semi-final was bad enough, with a season-ending injury to Arjen Robben, minutes into his comeback, compounding the misery. Robert Lewandowski then departed the action as well with concussion and serious facial injuries – but the road to recovery may yet be a happily short one for the Polish sharpshooter.
Bayern's 24th Bundesliga title was also Schweinsteiger's eighth, taking him level with club legends Oliver Kahn and Mehmet Scholl as the players to have hoisted the coveted championship shield most often. With his seven DFB Cup triumphs thrown into the mix as well, however, Schweinsteiger is now out on his own as the German domestic game's most abundantly titled player of all time. Still only 30, the current national team captain moreover looks a fair bet to add further to that record 15-trophy haul long before he hangs up his boots.
End of an Era
On April 15th, dropped the bombshell: this, his seventh season in charge of Borussia Dortmund, will also be his last. Seven seasons in which the charismatic head coach led the club back, first, to the pinnacle of the Bundesliga and then into the elite European fold once again. We take a look back at an unforgettable era for die Schwarz-Gelben and the massed ranks of their devoted followers – and forward to the potential prospect of it ending with one final piece of silverware, a dream of Klopp's kept alive by his players on a drama-filled evening in Munich at the end of the month past.