Have we reached the point where I no longer have to mention the European Super League in the introductions of my articles? It’s so strange that for about three days it was the biggest news story of the last few decades in soccer, but then it immediately vaporized, and now it’s as if we’re completely back to normal.
The main focus for Borussia Dortmund is, at this point, the race for the top four, with Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of BVB, with Bayer Leverkusen following shortly behind. Unfortunately, the results this round didn’t do much to help Dortmund make the Champions League. Let’s take a look.
Cologne 2-1 RB Leipzig
Bayern Munich 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 Augsburg
Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 Schalke
Werder Bremen 0-1 Mainz 05
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Union Berlin
TSG Hoffenheim 3-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
VFB Stuttgart 1-3 VFL Wolfsburg
The state of play after another #BLMatchday - are your boys heading or ? pic.twitter.com/Q3wBcCJ0Ud— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) April 21, 2021
Wolfsburg and Frankfurt Grab Three Points
If Borussia Dortmund are going to make the Champions League next year, at least one of these two teams is going to need to drop points. Unfortunately, both of them were victorious this matchday, meaning BVB still sits four and five points behind Frankfurt and Wolfsburg respectively.
Neither game was competitive, either. Wolfsburg brushed Stuttgart aside with three goals before Gonzalo Castro snattched a stoppage-time consolation prize for Stuttgart. Eintracht Frankfurt’s game against Augsburg was a bit closer. Although Adi Hütter’s men got off to a 2-0 lead, Augsburg had a chance to get back in the game when Augsburg were awarded a penalty in the 72nd minute because of a handball call on Tuta. Unfortunately for Augsburg and BVB, when Alfred Finnbogason stepped up to the spot to take the penalty, he attempted a panenka that ended up looping over the crossbar.
Schalke Get Relegated
Schalke will officially play in the 2. Bundesliga next season, following a 1-0 defeat to Arminia Bielefeld on Tuesday. It was a true “Schalke Special”: they were completely railroaded in the run of play, goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann deflected what should have been a fairly routine shot into the net, and Malick Thiaw was flashed a second yellow card after a reckless challenge. While Fährmann somewhat redeemed himself by saving a penalty to keep the score 1-0, Schalke couldn’t take advantage of the break and lost.
Bielefeld’s win also puts them four points above Hertha and Cologne, who sit in the relegation zone. Hertha Berlin have two additional games in hand, so they’re in a better position to stay up than Cologne. Hertha’s match against Mainz was postponed last weekend because of a COVID outbreak. When this match is played, it will be a big chance for them to make up ground in an attempt to escape relegation.
Meanwhile, Cologne did very well to keep their survival hopes alive with a win over RB Leipzig. While Leipzig controlled much of the play, and in fact outshot Cologne 25-5, goalkeeper Timo Horn put on a clinic and kept Cologne in the game long enough to snatch a winner in the 59th minute and survive a barrage from Leipzig in the second half.
Bayern Munich Back to Winning Ways
After falling out of the Champions League last week, Bayern Munich got back to their winning ways while helping out Borussia Dortmund. Even though BVB’s main targets are Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt, they still need to be wary of Bayer Leverkusen in 6th place, chomping at their heels. Thankfully, Bayern’s victory puts BVB five points up on Die Werkself. Bayern got off to a strong start, with two goals in the opening half hour, that allowed them to shepherd the match to an undramatic conclusion.
Marco Rose Watch: A Vintage Bottle-job
They say that the 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in sports. While this cliche is obvious nonsense and isn’t reflected by reality, it held true this time for Borussia Mönchengladbach, who let a 2-0 lead at the half slip away, surrendering three goals in less than 20 minutes to give TSG Hoffenheim the lead. It was pretty clear that Hoffenheim were the better side over the course of 90 minutes, and deserved a win. They out-shot Gladbach 19-6, with expected goals 2.31 - 0.88 in favor of Hoffenheim.
As I’ve written before, I’m not too concerned with Gladbach’s poor performances this season. At this point they have nothing to play for, and Rose already has a foot out the door anyway.
Will Hertha Berlin escape the relegation playoff spot?