At the end of a day of high drama, there was agony for VfB Stuttgart, ecstasy for SV Werder Bremen and trepidation for Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 34.
The party will continue long into the night in Bremen after Werder scored three minutes from time to beat Frankfurt and send the Eagles into the play-off, where they will face 1. FC Nürnberg. Meanwhile, the tears are already flowing in Stuttgart as VfB’s loss at VfL Wolfsburg signalled relegation and the end of their 38-year stay in the top flight.
Read what the protagonists had to say after the final ball in the relegation battle had been kicked…
Zlatko Junuzovic (Bremen midfielder): “We got what we deserved. This will go down in history – it’s just amazing! Hats off to the fans, the city and the club.”
Viktor Skripnik (Bremen coach): “Finally we’ve done our homework properly. Tactically it wasn’t easy as we needed to keep in mind what was happening in Wolfsburg. We didn’t play too well in the first half, but at the end of the day, the result is what counts.”
Stefan Aigner (Frankfurt midfielder): "We conceded one goal – other than that, not much went wrong. If you’re safe for 88 minutes and end up conceding like that, it’s obviously tough to take. We cant’ let our heads drop, though. We’re hurting now, but tomorrow we carry on working. The coach spoke to us briefly after the game, but he’ll find the right words [for the play-off]."
Marco Russ (Frankfurt defender): "I’m professional enough to move on from this. The coach got it right when he said that a few weeks ago, nobody would have said that we’d make the play-off. I’ve already put this game out of my mind. I’m focusing on the relegation play-off and we’ll be back in action soon."
Niko Kovac (Frankfurt coach): “It’s always frustrating to lose an important game like this so late on. We were a bit too defensive, but you sometimes have games where not much goes for you up front. Now we have to get over the disappointment quickly and prepare for 1. FC Nürnberg."
Christian Gentner (Stuttgart midfielder): “It’s hard to even find the words. Being relegated is unbelievably painful. As a collective, we haven’t been able to produce the performances that would have kept us up. We’re incredibly disappointed.”
Martin Harnik (Stuttgart forward): “We didn’t go down because of this game, even if our first-half performance was one of a relegated team. Over the season we’ve made a lot of mistakes, which every one of us needs to start analysing. At the beginning of the season I missed a lot of chances, then I got injured, and when I came back, I couldn’t really help the team.”
Jürgen Kramny (Stuttgart coach): “It was a tough first half and we weren’t really at the races. We were better in the second half, but at the end of the day we’ve been relegated and that really, really hurts. We had lots of chances to get the points we needed in the last few weeks, but we didn’t take them and we’re paying the price for that today.”