The 2016/17 Bundesliga campaign is edging towards its conclusion with relegation still a real possibility for a third of the table, but one thing is now set in stone: Bayern Munich are champions once more!
There were also big points for Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund as they both secured top-four finishes for the season, whilst Augsburg claimed the spoils in a real relegation six-pointer against Hamburg. Here is our round-up of the Matchday 31 action.
Only one place to start this weekend and it’s in Lower Saxony where Bayern secured a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title – the third time in the last 14 years they have done that at Wolfsburg! The Wolves had a go at the Bavarians in the opening stages, but a sublime David Alaba free-kick followed by a Robert Lewandowski brace before half-time left Wolfsburg with little hope and one Bayern hand firmly on the Meisterschale. Another three goals after the break from Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich wrapped up the title for the Munich club with three games to spare.
Watch: Lewandowski shares his thoughts on Bayern's title success
Hoffenheim huffed and puffed for 90 minutes against Frankfurt in the Matchday 31 curtain-closer on Sunday, dominating possession but struggling to get behind a determined visiting backline. Their efforts were eventually rewarded moments before the final whistle blew when Benjamin Hübner - the son of Frankfurt sporting director Bruno Hübner - headed in Sebastian Rudy's corner to lift Julian Nagelsmann's side to third. The result also guaranteed them a top-four finish, an incredible achievement considering they were battling relegation at the same stage last year.
Watch: Nagelsmann discusses the last-gasp win over Frankfurt
Speaking of top-four finishes, Dortmund are also assured of a place in at least the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds next season, although that particular piece of news was tempered by a frustrating goalless draw at home to Cologne. Thomas Tuchel's men had 23 shots on goal compared to the Billy Goats' five, but simply could not find a way past goalkeeper Timo Horn. They slip down to fourth as a result, setting things up nicely for their mouth-watering clash with Hoffenheim next weekend.
Watch: Dortmund's Christian Pulisic gives his opinion on the draw with Cologne
Promoted Leipzig had the chance to delay the Bayern celebrations by at least a week if they had managed to beat Ingolstadt earlier in the day, but RBL just could not find a way past the stubborn Bavarian defence. Bayern owe a great deal of thanks this season to their Bavarian neighbours, who were the first team to inflict defeat on Leipzig in the Hinrunde and this weekend opened the door to a 26th Bundesliga title. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge gifted them ‘a truck-load of Weißwurst’ the first time, will he be even more generous with a second delivery this time?
Watch: Leipzig forward Emil Forsberg reflects on the draw with Ingolstadt:
The footballing cliché of ‘six-pointers’ is thrown around a lot nowadays, but this match absolutely fit the bill. Augsburg were sitting precariously in the relegation play-off spot before kick-off, one point behind their opponents. And they blew them away with their biggest-ever home win in the Bundesliga. A brace from veteran midfielder Halil Altintop and strikes apiece from Philipp Max and Raul Bobadilla have lifted Die Fuggerstädter to 13th in the table and dropped the Bundesliga’s only ever-present club back into the danger zone of the playoff. Two of Hamburg’s final three opponents are Wolfsburg and Mainz, with all three clubs sitting on 33 points.
Torsten Frings’ Lilies simply refuse to wilt. Despite appearing dead and buried weeks ago, Darmstadt have gone on a three-match winning run – their longest ever in the Bundesliga – and also secured their biggest Bundesliga win since 1979 as they put three past European hopefuls Freiburg. Goals from Felix Platte, Jerome Gondorf and Sven Schipplock – his first in two years – gave Darmstadt renewed hope of rescuing their season. Perhaps any talk of a stay of execution was a little premature…
Schalke heaped further misery on Die Werkself as they raced into a 3-0 lead inside 18 minutes at the BayArena. Despite Leverkusen having the better of the opening stages, the Royal Blues took advantage of a string of defensive mistakes by Bayer to score with their first two shots on goal. Guido Burgstaller bagged his third Bundesliga brace since joining Schalke in the winter when he converted from Alessandro Schöpf’s free-kick, meaning Leverkusen have now conceded a league high 18 goals from set pieces. Whilst Schalke were clinical, Bayer were not and now find themselves precariously close to the drop zone.
Watch: Schalke defender Coke on the win in Leverkusen
The Bundesliga's most in-form team continue to dazzle, picking up a ninth win in an 11-game unbeaten streak to move into the top six for the first time this season. It is an astonishing run considering they were flirting with the relegation places for the first 24 Matchdays this term, but are now on course to book a place in the Europa League. Max Kruse – who else? – was the decisive figure for the Green-Whites once again, scoring one and providing the assist for the other as Bremen ran out comfortable winners.
Watch: Man-of-the-hour Kruse remains coy about Bremen's European ambitions
Mainz's relegation concerns intensified on Saturday as they succumbed to a sixth defeat in their last eight, meaning they are one of three teams tied on 33 points. Gladbach's triumph was inspired by an unlikely source: left-back Nico Schulz, who was making his first start of the season. A goal and an assist later, regular starter Oscar Wendt may have trouble winning back his place at this rate.
Watch: Schulz on his delight at helping his team