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Bayern Munich champions again after Dortmund meltdown

May 27, 2023

Bayern Munich are German champions for the 11th straight time after a breathless climax to the Bundesliga season. Jamal Musiala's 89th-minute winner for Bayern settled it following Dortmund’s implosion against Mainz.

Fussball Bundesliga, 34. Spieltag l  Bayern München wird Deutscher Meister
Image: Thilo Schmuelgen/REUTERS

Bayern Munich have been crowned Bundesliga champions again, overcoming the odds to win the title on goal difference — dashing Dortmund's hopes of lifting the Meisterschale for the first time since 2012 on a final day of extraordinary drama.

Bayern secured it following Jamal Musiala's late strike as Dortmund could only draw 2-2 with Mainz.

Thomas Tuchel's side were already celebrating with their fans in Cologne as Dortmund threw everything at Mainz to get a late winner that never materialized in a Bundesliga finale that will live long in the memory.

Dortmund players sit on grass with heads in hands
Dortmund's players are left heartbroken after throwing away the Bundesliga. Image: Leon Kuegeler/REUTERS

Unthinkable happens as Dortmund dream dissolves

All eyes were on Dortmund, who had their fate in their own hands with the clearest of tasks: beat Mainz at home to become German champions. Bayern Munich were playing 73 kilometers (40 miles) to the south in Cologne, knowing that only a victory would give them the chance to pounce should the unthinkable happen in Dortmund.

The early momentum swung Bayern's way. Kingsley Coman cut in from the left to arrow a shot into the top corner following a swift break involving Thomas Müller and Leroy Sane. The finish was vintage Coman and applied the pressure on Dortmund, where news of the goal had started to filter through.

Things went from bad to worse for Dortmund soon after. Andreas Hanche-Olsen's header at the near post flashed past Gregor Kobel and stunned the Westfalenstadion as Dortmund had fallen behind and suddenly needed two.

Dortmund were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Raphael Guerreiro. It was soft but given after a VAR check. But Sebastien Haller’s penalty was tame, lacking conviction and saved comfortably by Mainz keeper Finn Dahmen.

The mood went from hushed to funereal when Mainz captain Karim Onisiwo headed in a second for Mainz in front of the Südtribüne. That was the hammer blow for Dortmund, who had seen Karim Adeyemi limp off injured and were now left needing three goals as their dreams dissolve in front of their eyes.

As Bayern continued to look comfortable in Cologne — Sane had a goal chalked off for handball and Müller headed against the post — Dortmund coach Edin Terzic was about to deliver the most important halftime team talk of his career.

Munich's Musiala celebrates scoring their second goal with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Musiala won the title for Bayern with an 89th-minute strike, his first goal for Bayern under Thomas Tuchel.Image: Thilo Schmuelgen/REUTERS

Musiala magic gives Bayern last laugh

For a while it looked like Dortmund had woken up as Guerreiro pulled one back for Dortmund, raising hopes of a Dortmund comeback. That never happened but with 10 minutes to play Cologne did Dortmund a massive favor as Dejan Ljubicic scored from the penalty spot following a handball by Serge Gnabry on VAR review.

But the final twist came a minute from the end of normal time, when Musiala, Bayern's exceptional 20-year-old, scored a delightful goal into the bottom corner, triggering wild scenes in front of the ecstatic Bayern fans.

The dramatic title win didn't save CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic from being fired immediately after the game, confirmed by Bayern later. While Kahn has struggled to get to grips with the task of leading the club forward in the post-Hoeness and Rummenigge era, Salihamidzic has made multiple eras including the failure to appropropriately replace the club's legendary striker Robert Lewandowski. 

Despite the unedifying spectacle of Bayern president Herbert Hainer and Salihamidzic remonstrating on the field as the players celebrated with the Meisterschale just meters away, Bayern can take solace in a Bundesliga title that is their least convincing since Jürgen Klopp led Dortmund to glory in 2012.

The wait goes on for Dortmund — and they might have to wait another decade for a better chance than this.

Edited by: Mark Hallam