The Bundesliga season has come to a close. After 34 matchdays, all 18 spots in the league table have been finalized, and the team sitting at the very top of the table is the same team that has done so for the ten previous seasons. I think we can all agree that we’d rather not spend another moment reliving the fixtures that decided the title race, but what about the rest of the Bundesliga table? There was quite a lot still to play for on the final matchday, from the relegation battle to the final European qualification spots.
There are good news stories still to be found in modern football, despite the money driving vast inequalities all over Europe, and the final Champions League place in the Bundesliga was one of them (if you’re looking for more to cheer you up, I’d also point to Luton’s promotion to the Premier League and RC Lens’ qualification for the Champions League).
Union Berlin will be playing Champions League football next season, which is pretty wild, but it’s made that much more wild by the fact that this fourth spot was being fought out between Union and Freiburg. These are two of the good guys in the league, and whoever came out on top it would have been a nice story. Congratulations Union.
Here’s how the final matchday played out across the league:
VfL Bochum 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Mainz
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Augsburg
Frankfurt 2-1 Freiburg
FC Köln 1-2 Bayern Munich
RB Leipzig 4-2 Schalke
Union Berlin 1-0 Werder Bremen
VfB Stuttgart 1-1 Hoffenheim
Wolfsburg 1-2 Hertha Berlin
Welcome to the Bundesliga Heidenheim & Darmstadt!
We generally only focus on the top flight in the roundup, but every now and then we allude to the goings on at the top of the 2. Bundesliga, given that those teams are duking it out for the right to be discussed in this prestigious regular feature. With the regular season coming to an end in both divisions over the weekend, we now know that Heidenheim and Darmstadt will replace Hertha Berlin and Schalke, while VfB Stuttgart will face Hamburg in the promotion/relegation playoff.
Things could have been very, very different at the top of the 2. BuLi, though. Like the first division, the German second division went into the final game of the season with lots to play for. At full time in Hamburg, it looked like the Germany heavyweights would be heading back to the top flight. But as we all know, these situations can prove to be extremely precarious...
If you are still feeling sorry for yourself, I think Hamburg’s situation should make you feel a little better. At least we weren’t celebrating the title at full time!
It’s a real shame to lose Schalke in the Bundesliga. Although there are probably plenty of locals that will revel in Schalke’s failures, I personally want to see them stay in the league so that we can enjoy the spectacle of the Revierderby every season. But on the other hand, it’s hard not to be uplifted by the Heidenheim story. They’re a small team representing an even smaller town. See, there are still some feel good stories out there.
Who will win the promotion/relegation playoff between Stuttgart and Hamburg?