For the first time in nine years the Bundesliga title race came down to the final day. Bayern Munich thumped Frankfurt, leaving Borussia Dortmund's win in Gladbach irrelevant and confirming yet another title.
Bayern 5-1 Frankfurt (Coman 4', Alaba 53', Sanches 58', Ribery 72', Robben 79' - Haller 50')
Gladbach 0-2 Dortmund (Sancho 45', Reus 55')
Bayern Munich romped to another Bundesliga title, their championship-clinching victory aided by goals from departing heroes Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Having overcome an equalizer, Bayern found another gear and a quickfire double ended the contest.
Borussia Dortmund, needing a Bayern loss and a win of their own, believed the remarkable might be possible when news filtered through of Frankfurt's equalizer. But more news of more goals for Bayern soon followed, rendering their own comfortable win irrelevant.
Marco Reus got the rub of the green — something he admitted afterwards — when his cross was deemed not to have crossed the goal line despite appearing to do so. The cross resulted in Jadon Sancho's goal, one that settled Dortmund. Reus tucked home a tidy second after neat work by Christian Pulisic, but by that stage they knew their efforts were in vain.
David Alaba's goal for Bayern was key. The Austrian was quickest to react after Kevin Trapp's save spilled back into the box. Five minutes later, a great solo goal from Renato Sanches and Bayern were well on their way.
The crowning moments came when both Ribery and Robben scored off the bench. Ribery tucked in between two defenders and then lifted it over Trapp. Minutes later, Robben tucked home after having the ball squared to him. They were scenes that sparked joy, confirming a win and a title. Although the pair still have a German Cup final to play, it was a fitting departure for two Bundesliga players who have had illustrious careers.
Tears followed for both players, Uli Hoeness and head coach Niko Kovac. The Croatian coach's future remains unclear, although he did say he expects to continue as head coach next season. On Saturday, though, he was emotional at winning his first Bundesliga title as a head coach.
As it happened:
17:50 "Thank you so much, Mia San Mia," says Rafinha in front of the Südkurve, in between sips of Paulaner. Ribery is on the pitch with his family, but is speaking to Sky.
"It was a special moment. It was tough. Today is my last moment here with the fans and my teammates. I wasn't here for two or three years. I was here twelve. That is football though. The show must go on," Ribery says.
"I think my best season was 2013. I won't ever be able to forget it."
"A coach needs time. He's a good coach. I hope he stays at Bayern."
17:44 "I nearly had a heart attack at how cold the drink was!" Kovac tells Sky Sports.
"It was a repeat of last year, when Alex Meier came on and scored. It was great."
"I'm a person. It hit me. I wanted to thank them," Kovac on the crowd chanting his name.
"I'm convinced I will continue as the head coach next season," Kovac says.
17:42 Beer shower time! Robben, who is a pro at this, sneaks up on Kovac and absolutely drains beer over him. Kovac looks cold. Rafinha gets him during an interview. It is a competition now.
17:38 At the same time, Robben and Ribery lift the Meisterschale as Bayern celebrate the title win. Seven in a row. However rocky the road has been this season, it ends with a title win. Alphonso Davies lifts the trophy. What a moment for him. Each player gets their moment to lift it into the air. Niko Kovac smiles. He too deserves credit, especially in the face of all the question marks. There are some tears in his eyes.
17:36 "I think against teams like Düsseldorf or Nuremberg, with all respect, we have to win those games. We can still be happy with what we've achieved," Roman Bürki to Sky afterwards. "Bayern had that experience. We had a lot of young players who didn't have that but I think we have learned a lot now and we will push again next season."
17:35 Robben and Ribery come out along the walkway to hugs and love from Bayern legends. It's time to celebrate in Munich. Niko Kovac follows. Lots of smiles.
17:30 Dortmund go to their block in Gladbach and the applause is loud. There are some sad faces there, but once the dust has settled I think they'll be delighted at the season they have played. No one expected them to push Bayern this close. Hats to a fantastic campaign.
"When they made it 1-1, our hope came back, but whoever is first at the end of it deserves it," Marco Reus says afterwards.
"I play football because I love it. Titles would be nice and they are a part of it, but I play it because I love it."
"It wasn't the finish we wanted but a huge compliment to the team."
When asked whether the ball was out or not, Reus said: "Out. Honestly, every time after a game I come here and we talk about VAR. I think it was out and we were lucky." Fair play Marco.
17:25 Worth pointing out that it was an absolutely crazy final day in the Bundesliga. Mainz's furious finish means that despite losing heavily in Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt will be playing European football next season. Deservedly so too. What a season for them. Wolfsburg handed Augsburg quite the loss, and there were quite a lot of goals today - 41 to be precise.
Matchday 34 scores:
Gladbach 0-2 Dortmund
Bayern 5-1 Frankfurt
Wolfsburg 8-1 Augsburg
Hertha 1-5 Leverkusen
Mainz 4-2 Hoffenheim
Werder Bremen 2-1 RB Leipzig
Düsseldorf 2-1 Hannover
Freiburg 5-1 Nuremberg
Schalke 0-0 Stuttgart
17:23 There are more tears as Robben and Ribery realize this is it. Hoeness has champagne in the VIP lounge. Niko Kovac shares a word with Adi Hütter. There are lots of hugs going around. Bayern haven't been brilliant this season, but they've been good enough to be champions.
Bayern 5-1 Frankfurt (Coman 4', Alaba 53', Sanches 58', Ribery 72', Robben 79' - Haller 50')
Gladbach 0-2 Dortmund (Sancho 45', Reus 55')
90' It is all over in Gladbach as well, where Dortmund miss out on the title but confirm a Champions League spot.
90' IT'S ALL OVER IN MUNICH! BAYERN ARE BUNDESLIGA CHAMPIONS!
89' Marco Reus and Mario Götze sit on the bench stare into the distance. Must be an odd feeling. It has been a great season for them, but perhaps a case of what might have been. A party is imminent in Munich.
84' Frankfurt are in a European spot because Mainz have equalized against Hoffenheim. Drama.
82' Not much news from Mönchengladbach. Dortmund are playing out the win, and Gladbach are trying not to think too much about how little they can do now that Leverkusen are winning. Dortmund's fans though, are as loud as ever. Their team won't be champions but what a season it has been.
79' GOAL! 5-1 Bayern (Robben) The narrative is complete. The man who is on the "Mr. Wembley" banner in the crowd has also scored. Alaba is put through on the left, and he squares it for Robben to tap in. The Dutchman celebrates joyfully and the home crowd doesn't know what to do with itself. Bayern are going to win the Bundesliga, and the two departing heroes have scored to make it so.
72' GOAL! 4-1 Bayern (Ribery) It had to be. Franck Ribery has scored his final Bundesliga goal. It is a wonderful goal, slipping in between defenders and then lifting it above the goalkeeper. He drops to his knees in tears, removes his shirt and cries. Uli Hoeness also has tears in his eyes. The Frenchman even hugs the referee (who books him for removing his shirt). Football eh?
67' With tears in the eyes of some fans, Arjen Robben comes on for his 201st and final league appearance for Bayern Munich. He throws his arms up and down to encourage the crowd one last time. The contest is over but perhaps there will be room for one last Robben cut in from the right.
63' It took until the last 30 minutes of the final day to know who was going to win the Bundesliga. Not bad. Not bad at all.
58' GOAL! 3-1 Bayern (Sanches) Put the salad bowl out in Munich. The title is coming 'home'. Sanches gets the ball on the overlap on the left, dummies past the defender before tucking inside and firing through Trapp. He sprints half the field to celebrate with subs. Bayern are closing in now on their seventh straight title. The perfect time for Franck Ribery, who comes on to great applause (for Coman). He shakes that emotion. One last time in red in the Bundesliga.
55' GOAL! 2-0 Dortmund (Reus) Dortmund are doing their job. Götze to Sancho. He goes wide to Christian Pulisic and his low ball into the area is converted superbly by Marco Reus. Lovely, but Reus' face has a resigned look to it. Who knows whether they know that Bayern are winning again, but they must suspect it.
53' GOAL! 2-1 Bayern (Alaba) Well that lasted long - I think not. Trapp makes a fine save to deny a low drive but the save isn't perfect as it squirms back into the box. David Alaba is alive to it and he fires it home. Who says Bayern have lost their ruthless streak?
50' GOAL! Frankfurt (Haller 51') Hello, hello. Kimmich fails to clear a corner, Abraham clatters an effort onto the bar and the rebound goes in off Haller's knee. Now then, now then... Who is going to be German champion? As it stands, Bayern will be on goal difference. Football eh? This comes just minutes after the Bayern Südkurve chanted Niko Kovac's name. What must he be thinking?
46' The final 45 minutes are underway! Frankfurt have brought on Sebastien Haller (de Guzman) in an attempt to go for it. Bayern have two subs left, having been forced into removing the injured Leon Goretzka earlier in the first half (Renato Sanches came on). Lots of talk about Reus' cross and whether the ball was out or not. Worth remembering that a lot of that depends on the angle of the camera. From a bird's eye view I think it wouldn't have looked as out as many of the posts on social media make it appear, but such is life these days.
Bayern should be ahead by more than one goal, but thanks to VAR and Kevin Trapp they are up by just one. Dortmund are ahead by one, in curious circumstances and out of the blue. As it stands, Bayern will win the title because they are winning - a result that would render Dortmund's result irrelevant. Only a Bayern defeat combined with a Dortmund win would result in Dortmund winning the title. In European race, the drama lies with Frankfurt who, because of their scoreline in Munich as well as leads for Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg, are currently out of the European spots. Tough. Just 45 minutes left in this Bundesliga season.
45' GOAL! 1-0 Dortmund (Sancho) What is happening! Another VAR call in Gladbach and this time it is massive. Marco Reus breaks down the left and his first cross is blocked, but his second is fired home at the back post by Jadon Sancho. A huge goal, but Manuel Gräfe is told to take a look and on the replay when the ball comes back to Reus it looks very, very close to going out. There is no goal line technology for the sideline and so it is really up to how Gräfe sees it. He sees it as a good goal, with just enough of the ball staying in, and so Dortmund have the lead! Wow.
41' VAR! Gladbach and Dortmund still seem to be cancelling each other out a bit. That final ball is missing for the team in yellow, unlike in Berlin where, just like that, Leverkusen are back into fourth after retaking the lead. As I write that, there's a VAR of a possible handball against Gladbach. Nothing doing. No penalty for Dortmund - seems fair - and on we go. Gladbach need a goal to get fourth, Dortmund need a goal and two in Frankfurt to win the Bundesliga.
37' Götze's quick turn is too fast for Matthias Ginter - free kick on the corner of the box. Reus whips it but into the side netting. Close, but not close enough. The race for Europe continues to go back and forth. Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg have doubled their lead, but Hertha have equalized which means Gladbach (as it stands) are back in fourth. Drama!
32' CROSSBAR! Jonathan de Guzman slides to deflect the ball away from Müller but in doing so sends the ball off the bar. Then Trapp saves well from Müller and Gnabry fires wide on the volley. Bayern pushing. Frankfurt need an idea or two.
31' As it stands: Kai Havertz has scored in Berlin which means Leverkusen are into fourth and Frankfurt, unbelievably, are eight.
26' VAR! Bayern Munich think they're 2-0 up after Serge Gnabry drills in a low drive following a long ball, but a lengthy VAR decision later proves that Robert Lewandowski was offside when that long ball came over the top. Correct decision, and this time not by a toenail either (remember Leipzig?). It stays 1-0.
25' Dortmund flash a header wide. That's their first real chance of the game. Will it matter?
22' A missed header lets in Gladbach but Hazard doesn't square it to Traore, who was free, and the chance is gone. Dortmund need to up the ante. By the way, as it stands, thanks to Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim's lead, Frankfurt are out of the European spots. Ouch. Will that force a change?
20' Frankfurt dance into Bayern's box, but the ball is cleared before a thought can emerge. They looked tired, which would be fair enough. Müller then gets his feet tangled up and spoils what looked like a certain goal.
14' CROSSBAR! Gladbach have started better and continued that way. Ibrahima Traore clatters the bar with a curling effort and then Jonas Hofmann fires a low drive wide. Christoph Kramer is booked, but Gladbach look up for it. Dortmund look a bit flat.
13' SAVE! Kevin Trapp makes a big save to deny Robert Lewandowski, throwing out his left boot after Lewandowski nutmegs David Abraham on his way into the box. Second goal incoming.
9' News of the Bayern goal makes its way around the Dortmund block in Mönchengladbach. Sours the mood somewhat, but more importantly Lucien Favre's side need to get settled. They look a bit loose at the moment, something that Gladbach haven't taken advantage of (yet).
4' GOAL! 1-0 Bayern Munich (Coman) That didn't take long. Thomas Müller picks the lock to thread Kingsley Coman through on the left. The Frenchman has the angle and curls it into the bottom corner. Just like that, Bayern are ahead and are on their way to the title. For Dortmund to even stand a chance, Frankfurt now need two goals in Munich.
4' Hazard cuts in from the left and gets a shot away, but Dortmund block it. Precarious start.
1' We are off! Dortmund start in Gladbach, Bayern gets us underway in Munich against Frankfurt.
15:26 With the music from the movie 'The Gladiator' playing loudly in the background, Rafinha, Francky Ribery and Arjen Robben are given their send-off before kick off. Interesting choice of music, but an emotional departure nonetheless.
15:22 Safe to say that Dortmund fans are ready for a party, either way it goes.
15:05 Bayern are warming up in the Munich sun and Ribery and Robben are already in tears. He, and Arjen Robben will have one more game after this (the German Cup final) before the curtain finally falls on their Bayern careers but it will be an emotional day for them both. Niko Kovac says before the game that it was "very difficult" to tell the pair they weren't starting today. A "sporting decision" says Kovac.
15:00 "The final game of the season, everything is possible," Lucien Favre says in typical fashion. Can he really say anything else? Dortmund are ready to go, so are Gladbach. Both sides need a win to achieve their goals. All on the line, as it is in Munich for both Bayern and Frankfurt. Can't ask for more than that.
- Lineups are out!
Bayern Munich vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Bayern: Ulreich — Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba — Thiago, Goretzka — Gnabry, Müller, Coman — Lewandowski
Frankfurt: Trapp — Abraham, Hasebe, Hinteregger — Da Costa, Fernandes, De Guzman, Kostic — Gacinovic — Jovic, Rebic
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Borussia Dortmund
Mönchengladbach: Sommer — Beyer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt — Hofmann, Kramer, Zakaria — Traore, Drmic, Hazard
Dortmund: Bürki — Piszczek, Weigl, Akanji, Guerreiro — Witsel, Delaney — Sancho, Reus, Pulisic — Götze
Here are the story lines going into the final matchday of the season...
"Robbery? It's a great nickname!"
The final day of the 2018/19 campaign marks the end of an era in Munich as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben —affectionately known as 'Robbery' — will bid farewell to the Bayern faithful after being key figures in a defining decade of success.
Ahead of Bayern's clash with Frankfurt, Ribery sat down with DW to discuss his trophy-laden time with the club and why it's so difficult to say goodbye. Click here to read the full interview.
Reus returns against his former club
After missing out against Bremen and Düsseldorf due to suspension, Dortmund's talismanic captain Marco Reus will be back in Lucien Favre's starting lineup as both return to their former stomping ground in Mönchengladbach. Injury free for most of the season, the 29-year-old has produced arguably the best form of his career - 16 goals & eight assists in 26 games - to inspire BVB's title tilt. If Reus is to get it over the line though, he's going to have to ruin his former club's top-four hopes.
Given their track record, Bayern don't enjoy many 'firsts' nowadays. That may change on Saturday, as for the first time they could wrap up a Bundesliga title with a win at the Allianz Arena. Since moving to their state-of-the-art stadium in 2005, Bayern have always clinched the title on foreign soil or, as was the case in 2014-15, when they weren't even in action. Wolfsburg's loss to Gladbach that season secured what is now known as the "sofa title."
Form Guide: Borussia Dortmund
Last five league games: W W L D W
With the finish line in sight, Dortmund hit some major stumbling blocks after conceding the outright lead to Bayern following the dismal defeat to Bayern in Der Klassiker. The loss to arch rivals Schalke dented their pride and title hopes, while letting a two-goal lead slip against Bremen the week after looked to have taken the wind out of their sails completely. However, a 3-2 win on home soil to Düsseldorf has kept hopes alive heading into the Battle of the Borussias. Anything less than a win won't do for BVB.
Form Guide: Bayern Munich
Last five league games: W W D W D
The German record titleholders squadered a chance to wrap up their seventh straight title with a game to spare after last week's goalless draw in Leipzig, but know a draw against Frankfurt would be enough to clinch the title on account of their superior goal difference. You have to go back to Matchday 20 for the last time Niko Kovac's charges suffered defeat, but could his former side be the ones to spoil the party at the end of his debut season in charge?
Down. To. The. Wire.
For the first time since the 2009-10 campaign, the Bundesliga title race is set to be decided on the final day of season. It has been a rollercoaster ride for both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and, with just two points separating the heavyweights heading into Matchday 34, pulses will be racing when the balls get rolling on Saturday. DW has all the buildup to the main events...