How the Bundesliga title race unfolded on Matchday 32 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 04.05.2019
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How the Bundesliga title race unfolded on Matchday 32

The are just two games left in the Bundesliga season! Bayern Munich hosted Hannover before Borussia Dortmund traveled to Bremen. Relive the action from the title race on Matchday 32.

Another Bundesliga weekend meant another weekend of drama in the Bundesliga title race.

Bayern Munich were up first, hosting a Hannover side desperate to stay alive in a seemingly futile relegation battle.

Bayern huffed and puffed, but eventually blew Hannover's house down in what was a patchy performance.

Dortmund were up next, knowing a win would keep them within two points. Their first-half display certainly suggested that was on the cards, but a second-half implosion saw the title race all but slip away for Lucien Favre's side.

Re-live the drama of the Bundesliga title race on Matchday 32 below:

20:55 "In the context of this season, it's a clear handball," Florian Kohfeldt. "This is not a criticism of the referee. I don't think they know what to call anymore," he adds.

Kohfeldt proud of his team for battling back but says he's not happy that his side were in that position in the first place.

20:44 Lucien Favre is speaking after the game. "I don't want to talk about it anymore," Favre said on Mario Götze's handball that may or may not have been a handball.

"It's important that we created goal chances, but we conceded two unnecessary goals."

"Roman has had a great season. He has won a lot of points for us. We don't need to talk about that today."

"He [Akanji] knows he shouldn't have let the ball run like that."

Favre adds: "We have to win the last home game." Hope is all that is left for Dortmund now, seems to be the message.

20:35 "It's always special for me to play here, in front of these fans" Claudio Pizarro said afterwards. The 40-year-old has worked his magic today. A true Bundesliga legend, who is still producing in 2019. What a story.

Werder Bremen 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
(Möhwald 71', Pizarro 75' - Pulisic 6', Alcacer 41')

FULL TIME!

A game of two halves if ever there was one. Dortmund dominated the first half and looked certain to win, but then Roman Bürki makes an error and suddenly Dortmund collapsed. This means that Dortmund are four points behind Bayern Munich with two games to go. It seems unlikely that Bayern will drop five points in their last two games. This feels like the last stop on the 2018-19 Bundesliga title race train - and what a ride it has been.

90+3' Möhwald's shot is blocked. Pizarro heads wide. If anyone is going to win this, it's Bremen.

90+2' Just two minutes left now... Is this the title race slipping out of Dortmund's hands? It feels like it.

88' CHANCE! Dortmund work it forward, hoping for something. Pulisic works a yard or two, but gets pulled wide. That doesn't stop him from shooting, but his effort is dragged wide. If Dortmund only draw here, they'll be four points back with two games to go. It's all possible, but it would be a huge blow.

84' Bremen's stadium is loud. Suddenly this game has come alive. Weigl gets booked as Bremen up the pressure. Bruun Larsen and Dahoud are on (Götze and Delaney come off). Is there a winner in this one?

80' VAR! Mario Götze moves his arm to the ball to control a corner for Bremen. VAR steps in, but no penalty. After everything that has happened with handballs today, I'm now fully confused as to what a handball is.

75' GOAL! 2-2 Werder Bremen (Pizarro) I do not believe it. Manuel Akanji tries to shield it out, but Augustinsson nips in and plays it back to Pizarro, who smashes it home. What is happening here! Dortmund should be out of sight, but the score is level!

71' GOAL! Werder Bremen are back in it (Möhwald) Oh Roman Bürki. He has saved Dortmund so many times this season, but he will want this one back. The ball comes in to the Dortmund box, the ball is played back to Möhwald. His long-range drive makes its way through a group of bodies straight to Bürki, but somehow it creeps through his legs. He won't want to see that again. Game on!

66' SAVE! Pavlenka makes an incredible close-range save to keep out Alcacer's header. That's the threat that Dortmund will always pose, but Bremen are running out of time to worry about that.

63' Pizarro is inches away from connecting to a deep cross as Bremen search for answers. Not enough, but they are asking the right questions.

59' Alcacer puts it in the back of the net after flicking in a cross from the left, but he's offside and so the goal won't stand. Great call by the linesman to see it first time. Pizarro and Möhwald come on for Sahin and Osako as Kohfeldt goes for broke.

55' SAVE! Pavlenka keeps Bremen in it as he tips Delaney's dipping effort over the bar. Time to stick or twist for Kohfeldt, and I think he's got to go for it.

50' Dortmund's subs head off to the corner flag to warm up. Guerreiro forces a save out of Pavlenka. It's all on Bremen now. Favre's man delivered probably their best first half of the season. They just have to see this out and hit Bremen on the break. What do Kohfeldt's men do from here?

46' No changes. Dortmund get us restarted.

HALFTIME

Dortmund deserve their lead and are playing as if the result against Schalke last weekend never happened. A great start was rewarded with Pulisic's goal and then just before the break a bit more pressure paid off with Alcacer's free kick, although it was fortunate to be given in the first place. Bremen had their moments, but not many and none that dangerous.

45' CHANCE! A low cross from Götze finds Diallo at the back post and he just has to tap it in but he can't get the right touch to it and it flies past his foot. That should have been three.

41' GOAL! 2-0 Borussia Dortmund (Alcacer) And he puts it into the corner, beyond the grasp of Pavlenka. A brilliant free kick, that dipped and drifted in. No question over the quality, but there will questions about whether or not that was a free kick in the first place.

40' Pulisic goes to ground very easily. Friedl is booked and Kohfeldt is completely furious. The free kick for Dortmund is central, 15 yards from the edge of the box. Alcacer stands over it.

38' Bremen are back in it, and so is the home crowd. A cross finds Klaassen at the back post, but it's just beyond him. He keeps it alive and with Bürki out to close him down, the ball back in the middle just needs to be poked home and it's a goal. It isn't - it's blocked, but the intent is there from Bremen.

32' Bremen are struggling to keep up with Sancho's pace. Most do, if we're honest. But Dortmund are not converting that pressure, which given the drama of their games recently is perhaps not a good thing for them. Klaassen is late on Witsel and his studs are up. He gets booked, which doesn't please him or his head coach. Not sure why though. Bad tackle.

28' Akanji hesitates on the ball, Bremen try to get it off him and Akanji ends up conceding a foul. A couple of those moments suddenly where Dortmund look a little lost. Sancho goes on a run after Friedl is caught out of position but dallies with the final ball.

23' Two or three occasions where Dortmund play their way out of trouble superbly. Pass, pass, move - really impressive. Pulisic looks very up for it too, which might be a first this season. Dortmund back in control now, as Bremen are chasing yellow shadows.

19' When Bremen do get the ball moving, they really do play some lovely football. Klaassen's first time touch starts a move but the Dutchman's inability to get his head on the end of it means that the move dies a forgettable death. Dortmund not as in control as they were at the start now, but still look the more likely to score. Make of that what you will.

14' CHANCE! Dortmund have really come to play here. A good ball into the box from Akanji gets to Mario Götze. He takes a touch to get around the defender and then fires into the far corner. Is this 2-0? No, Jiri Pavlenka makes a great reflex save to tip it wide. Great football from everyone there.

11' Klaassen curls one wide as Bremen try to respond. Kohfeldt is pointing and shouting furiously at his players to keep the defensive line in attack and and midfield. At least, that's what it looks like. The smoke has gone. The beauty of the pitch at the Weserstadion is in full sight and Dortmund are playing some tidy stuff.

6' GOAL! 1-0 Dortmund (Pulisic) What a start! Christian Pulisic bursts through the middle and brilliantly finds the bottom corner as he closes in on an on-rushing Pavlenka. The man who needed to deliver has and Dortmund have an early lead!

4' Dortmund's formation is now clear. It is a back four with Guerreiro at left back and Akanji at right back. Weigl and Diallo in the middle. The rest as expected. Still quite a lot of smoke.

1' Off we go! Alcacer gets a shot early on as the smoke continues to drift across the field.

18:32 Kick-off is delayed due to the black and yellow smoke from the flares waved by the Dortmund fans as the players came out of the tunnel. Up for it. Marco Reus is on the bench to lead from the sidelines.

18:27 "It's only over when it's over" reads the banner in the Dortmund away block. Today could well be that day.

18:15 Worth remembering this game is all or nothing for both sides. Dortmund need a win to stay in the title race, Werder Bremen need a win to keep their fading hopes of European football alive (currently five points off 7th). This should be a lot of fun.

18:10 Florian Kohfeldt says before the game that there are two ways to defend against a side like Dortmund, and one on one is not the way he works. He wants collective defensive effort, particularly from the front. Staggered levels of defensive work is important, the Bremen head coach continues. That much has been evident the way Werder have played this season, although in their last 10 league games they haven't kept a clean sheet. It's a fine line.

18:04 "We know we have to win. We know Bayern on 3-1. We know this is a big game for us. We know it's tough here, but we don't have a choice," Lucien Favre tells Sky beforehand. Think I'd agree with all of that. He adds, with a smirk, that Diallo is not at right back. Perhaps the back 5 wasn't a bad stab after all (see below)?

17:58 The big question for Dortmnud today is whether they can be as good without captain Marco Reus. The truth is that they have the same points return with him as without him, so there is nothing holding them back other than perhaps themselves. Michael Zorc tells Sky before the game saying that after feeling so deflated after the derby defeat last weekend, Bayern's draw with Nuremberg gave them new hope. Time to convert that today.

17:36 TEAMS! With Marco Reus suspended, Dortmund turn to Christian Pulisic for inspiration. However, with no right back it seems Dortmund might be playing a back three. That's my best guess at it. Bremen loses Gebre Selassie to injury just before the game and are forced to change it up.

BVB XI: Bürki - Guerreiro, Diallo, Akanji, Weigl, Pulisic - Delaney, Witsel, Götze - Sancho, Alcacer

Bremen XI: Pavlenka - Augustinsson, Veljkovic, Langkamp, Friedl - Sahin, Klaassen, M. Eggestein - Rashica, Kruse, Osako

17:32 Off to Bremen we go! Bayern have got their win, can Dortmund do the same? If they do, the gap will be back to just two points. If they don't, five points apart with two games to go looks ominous.

17:25 Thomas Doll and Niko Kovac share a word or two after the game, and both seem to be saying they don't understand the handball rule either. The debate rages on, as does the title race.

FULL TIME

Bayern Munich 3-1 Hannover
(Lewandowski 27', Goretzka 40', Ribery 84' - Jonathas pen. 51')

Bayern Munich do what they needed to and get the three points. It wasn't great at the start but it got better for Bayern. After a strange 15 minutes to start the second half in which VAR played a key role, Bayern eventually sealed the win. There's no denying Bayern deserved the win, and at this stage of the season all you have to do is win, but there were enough passages of concern for Bayern given the play RB Leipzig and Frankfurt next.

90+3' Thiago wins a free kick right on the edge of the box, which Arjen Robben will of course take. No final flourish though, as his effort flies high and wide.

87' And to top it off, Arjen Robben comes on for Kingsley coman. The Dutchman's arrival gets a huge cheer. These are the final few minutes of Robben's final Bayern season. He'll likely feature against Frankfurt at home on the final day as well, but he gets a cheer today too.

84' GOAL! 3-1 Bayern Munich (Ribery) Hannover were just enyoing a fair bit of the ball, and then Coman slips through Ribery on the left and his shot takes a minor deflection and that is that. Bayern will get the three points they wanted here, but having only impressed just enough.

74' UPDATE FROM AROUND THE GROUNDS: Stuttgart have scored in the capital, but not before Hertha had added a third. Nuremberg are still a goal down against Wolfsburg, who are taking advantage of a draw between Gladbach and Hoffenheim, a result which helps neither of them. In any case, no chance anyone is getting relegated today.

71' Felipe comes off, in tears. Not sure if those are in pain or sadness at leaving the game. Kevin Wimmer replaces him. The game is dragging itself to a conclusion here. Hannover are missing that extra man and that bit of quality, while Bayern haven't found second gear yet. A bit like the start of the game, with a weird 15-minute spell of refereeing.

67' Felipe is in pain after effectively taking Müller out of the game right in front of goal - no foul though. This game has turned into a very strange one. The Brazilian battles on though, and with Bayern seemingly taking their foot off the gas a bit, Hannover are daring to try for an equalizer.

63' There are no reviews for second yellow cards, so that's just a brave deicision by Christian Dingert, but the first 15 minutes of the second half are going to be a big topic of discussion this weekend. What is a handball? How helpful is VAR in its current format? Has the quality of refereeing changed because of the technology? How are Hannover still in this game? All questions that will be asked as a result of this weekend.

58' Well, well... A cross from Müller hits Ostrzolek in exactly the same way as the cross hit Boateng just minutes ago and this time, Dingert waves play on. Mats Hummels is tapping his arm on the sidelines. Hmmm. Some food for thought there.

54' RED CARD! Jonathas is shielding the ball and in doing so his outstretched arm clips Kimmich. I don't think he knows anything about Kimmich, but Christian Dingert doesn't care. He gives Jonathas his second yellow and now Hannover are down to 10. What a crazy start to the seond half!

51' GOAL! Hannover have one back! Jonathas converts the penalty, sending Ulreich the wrong way. Again though, the decision is extremely questionable given that Boateng's arm was not out. Not sure about that one. Hannover don't mind. They are, somehow, back in this one! Jonathas was booked afterwards for some handbags. Right then Bayern, how are your nerves?

49' VAR! Interesting decision here. A cross from the left hits Boateng on his arm, which is tucked in next to his body. The referee reviews it and eventually decides on a penalty!

46' We are underway again! Doll makes a change, Jonathas is on for Weydandt.

HALFTIME

After a bit of a slow start, Bayern end in complete control. Lewandowski headed in a superb cross from Kimmich and Goretzka curled in a beauty as Hannover eventually crumbled. It should have been more by the break, and likely will be in the second half. Fortunately for Hannover (and Nuremberg), Hertha are leading 2-0 at the break against Stuttgart which means it's unlikely that anyone is getting relegated today.

45+1' CROSSBAR! Kimmich pulls it back for Goretzka who just has to tuck it in under the bar, but instead he clips the top of it. Should have been three right there.

44' Damage limitation now for Hannover. Coman nearly curls in a beauty to make it 3-0, but it flies a whisker wide.

40' GOAL! 2-0 Bayern Munich (Goretzka) In the most predictable outcome of the afternoon, Bayern have doubled their lead. Coman stumbles over a dribble on the left but eventually gets it to Goretzka. The former Schalke man has some space outside of the box, and he almost nonchalantly curls it in off the post. Not much Esser can do about that. A very tidy finish. Game over? I fear so.

36' If in doubt, just do it on your own. Müller makes a crunching but fair tackle on the edge of the box, and then fires a drive towards the far corner - but there is Michael Esser again, diving to make another good save. Give that man some credit! Moments later, he palms out a Jerome Boateng drive!

32' Hard to see a way back for Hannover now, which is a shame given how hard they worked for the first 25 minutes of this one. Bayern in control now, cruising in third. Weydandt dares to enter the box, and Süle makes a perfect sliding tackle to deny him.

27' GOAL! 1-0 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski) This time though, Kimmich delivers an absolute peach of a cross, perfectly in between Hannover's two central players, and Lewandowski rises to head home. A wonderful cross, truly. As it stands (won't be the last time I write that today), Bayern are five points clear.

26' CHANCE! Lovely play from Bayern down the right. Kimmich slides in a low cross, Müller flicks it goalwards but Esser stands tall. The ball comes off Müller and goes out. Nearly...

24' Bit of pinball between the two teams here. Surprised Bayern can keep their focus given the bright neon of Hannover's away kit. Müller overcooks a through ball for Gnabry.

17' Nearly 20 minutes played and Hannover haven't conceded. Not every Bundesliga team that comes to Munich can say that. For all of Thomas Doll's questionable decisions this season, somehow he seems to have got this team sorted in the last few weeks. Süle pushes Weydandt, and that's a free kick wide right for Hannover. They swing it in, and it's cleared.

12' Thiago with yet another masterful pass to Kimmich who keeps it in and then nutmegs the on-rushing defender before crossing for Coman at the back post. The Frenchman's diving header is saved by Esser. Great football all round. If Hannover do get relegated, can imagine a few Bundesliga teams being interested in Michael Esser. Made a lot of big saves this season for a side that hasn't really helped him.

9' Well that header seems to have woken Bayern up. After Gnabry controls two high passes with incredible composure, Bayern eventually turn their pressure into a chance when Goretzka is found in the box but Esser is in the right place at the right time. Alaba then blazes the rebound over. Now the game is alive.

5' A relatively slow start from the home side, who have not burst out of the blocks. Hannover press well and eventually get a cross in for Haraguchi, who dives to head the ball goalwards but sends it wide. Still, Bayern's defense guilty of ball watching. For a side needing to send a message in the title race, this is not the start Bayern expected. Kovac throws his arm in a rotation, shouting for his players to up the tempo. Indeed.

1' Bayern get us underway! Can they put the pressure on Dortmund, who play later?

15:24 TEAMS! Bayern bring in Jerome Boateng, Sven Ulreich is still in goal and Leon Goretzka also starts. Hannover are hoping that having five defenders on the bench can help keep what would be their third straight clean sheet. Teenag youth talent Linton Maina starts.

Bayern XI: Ulreich - Alaba, Süle, Boateng, Kimmich - Coman, Thiago, Goretzka, Gnabry - Müller - Lewandowski

Hannover XI: Esser - Ostrzolek, Felipe, Anton, Sorg - Schwegler, Albornoz, Walace - Haraguchi - Weydandt, Maina

15:20 Good afternoon! Is this the weekend that the Bundesliga title race ends? Bayern are first up in Hannover, before Dortmund play in Bremen later. We'll keep you up to date with all the latest from the big two as the title race goes down to the wire.