Bundesliga Bulletin: Twists, turns and drama as title race goes to the wire | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 12.05.2019
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Bundesliga Bulletin: Twists, turns and drama as title race goes to the wire

Bayern Munich are stumbling towards the line while Borussia Dortmund are the masters of chaos. The title race will be decided on the last day as will the race for Europe. But two clubs know they won't be back next term.

Good week for: Borussia Dortmund (just), Kai Havertz, Mario Götze, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Saloman Kalou, Ibrahima Konate

Bad week for: Bayern Munich, Peter Bosz, Hannover, Nuremberg, Marwin Hitz, Leon Goretzka, Eintracht Frankfurt's top four hopes

The lowdown:

- For the first time in almost a decade, the Bundesliga title race is going to the last day. Bayern remain heavy favorites despite being held by an Ibrahima Konate-inspired RB Leipzig side who lived up to their reputation as the league's tightest team. Leon Goretzka's disallowed second half goal, flagged for the most marginal of offsides in the build up, was the defining moment but, with two draws in their last three games, the Bavarians are stumbling to the line.

- That stumbling was nearly enough after Borussia Dortmund almost surpassed themselves by losing a 3-1 injury time lead against ten-man Fortuna Düsseldorf. After Christian Pulisic opened the scoring with a goodbye goal, Mario Götze's sumptuous control, touch and finish should've settled nerves at 3-1 in injury time but BVB have become masters of chaos. Dortmund travel to Borussia Mönchengladbach next Saturday, while Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt.

- Neither of those opponents are ideal, with Gladbach and the Eagles two of the three sides still realistically in the mix for the third Champions League spots. But it could be Leverkusen who sneak into the final Champions League spot after Frankfurt slipped up at home to Mainz. With Glabach hosting Dortmund and Frankfurt traveling to Munich, Leverkusen's visit to Hertha Berlin is a whole lot more appetising. Victory in the capital could be enough to seal fourth for Peter Bosz's men, who themselves were held at home to Schalke.

- Things are more clear at the bottom, where Hannover and Nuremberg's relegation was mathematically confirmed after Stuttgart's 3-0 win over Wolfsburg confirmed they'll almost certainly play Paderborn or Union Berlin in the relegation playoffs. In truth, the relegated pair knew their fate some time ago and despite both changing coaches and sporting directors, never looked good enough to compete. They've won just eight of their 66 combined games.

The quotes:

"This so-called offside is the joke of the year. It wasn't a clear and obvious error, [Lewandowski] was level. A millimeter is not an advantage."
- Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness was not happy with the VAR decision which ruled out Leon Goretzka's goal.

"I'm a fan of VAR. It was a close decision, but a correct one."

- Niko Kovac is of a different opinon.

"They haven't had a real Bundesliga final in years in Munich, so I'm sure our fans will create a great atmosphere."
- Kovac again, with Bayern now having the chance to win the title at the Allianz Arena for the first time.

"I want to thank the Hoffenheim fans for three and a half great years. I've always felt so welcome and there has never been a day where I didn't want to go into work. I'm sure our paths will cross again someday."

- Julian Nagelsmann bids Hoffenheim farewell after his final home game in charge. Unless his reign at Leipzig is very short, he'll see them again next season.

"It's easy to support a team when you're doing well. But the true character of the fans but shows in moments like this."

- Nuremberg's interim head coach Boris Schommers after his side went down with a whimper. 

"It's hard to beat for irony. This is our best display of the season and in the end we're going to the second division."

- Hannover striker Henrik Weydandt laments that their 3-0 win over Freiburg was too little too late.

The Stats

- Two Bundesliga stalwarts brought up milestones on Saturday. Marcel Schmelzer made his 250th appearance for Dortmund, while Arjen Robben bought up his double century for Bayern. Both veterans came on as late subs.

- The blank in Leipzig was Bayern's first in the league for seven months.

- Kai Havertz broke the league record for most appearances as a teenager with his 87th match. His sixth goal in as many games was a strong way to mark it.

- Dortmund became the first Bundesliga team in history to score two or more goals in every home game. 

- Anthony Ujah's double in Frankfurt was his first Bundesliga brace in 1297 days.

The weird 
Ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s home game against Fortuna Düsseldorf, numerous posters appeared around Dortmund city center seemingly promoting a campaign against right-wing extremism. The posters featured similar designs to BVB’s own corporate branding and attributed quotes to players, such as: “Rather be on the bench than the right wing” and “Rather a Schalke victory than Nazi parts of town.” 
In statement, Borussia Dortmund confirmed that, while the club “stands for the fight against racism and clearly distances itself from all forms of discrimination,” the posters did not belong to the club. CEO Hans-Joachim Watze said the club will deal with the matter on Monday. 

The Fans

Ahead of RB Leipzig’s game against Bayern Munich, MotoGP world champion Marc Márquez performed a couple of laps of the Red Bull Arena, wearing Red Bull sponsorship. The stunt was intended to promote the MotoGP world championship at the nearby Sachsenring track this summer. Márquez’s appearance was applauded by most fans inside the stadium, including Red Bull founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz, but not by all. 

“Our Zentralstadion is not the Sachsenring!” read one banner, referring to the former name of the stadium in Leipzig, which has been known as the Red Bull Arena since 2010. 

It’s not the first time this season that RB Leipzig fans have voiced criticism of the team’s owners. Unlike most other German football clubs which adhere to the 50+1 rule, the corporate structure of RB Leipzig makes little provision for supporter engagement for those who have decided to follow the team since 2009. 

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