The 2020-21 season of the German topflight has now concluded. Despite most of the positions secured a while ago, there was plenty of jeopardy involved going into the final matchday of the season.
One of the biggest outcomes of the matchday was Union Berlin securing a seventh-place finish and hence, earning themselves a place in next season’s UEFA Europa Conference League. For a team that arrived in the German top tier only last season – that too via a relegation playoff – Die Eisernen have given a really good account of themselves in quickly becoming a mid-table side in the league.
Union achieved this by beating second-place RB Leipzig on the day. Goals from Marvin Friedrich (67’) and Max Kruse (90+2’) completed the comeback after Justin Kluivert had given Leipzig the lead in the 55th minute.
Union Berlin’s victory ended Borussia Mönchengladbach’s hopes of ending the season with any European Qualification. Die Fohlen had been riding high for most of the season, but their form fell of a cliff and never really recovered after their coach, Marco Rose, was announced to be leaving for Borussia Dortmund in the summer. Despite that, they ended their season in eighth place with a comfortable victory over Werder Bremen – a victory that confirmed Werder’s relegation from the topflight for the first time in 41 years after FC Köln managed to eke out a result against FC Schalke 04 to take the relegation playoff spot.
Werder Bremen joins Schalke as another heavyweight of German football who’ll be plying their trade in the second tier next season, which is already plush with big-name clubs like Hamburger SV, 1. FC Nürnberg, Fortuna Düsseldorf, and Hannover 96.
Lastly, Bayern Munich lifted the Bundesliga Meisterschale for the ninth year in a row after soundly beating Augsburg 5-2 at home, but the biggest news out of Allianz Arena was Robert Lewandowski finally breaking Gerd Müller’s 49-year-old record of 40 league goals in a season.
The Pole matched Müller’s 40-goal tally early (26’, Pen) in his side’s last-week draw against Freiburg, at which point it felt like he would go on to break the record in that match itself. That, however, did not come to pass, as Lewa did not manage to convert any of his further chances, including one shocking miss where he effectively stopped the ball from going over the line.
Against Augsburg, both Lewandowski and his teammates looked intent to help the 32-year-old score one by any means necessary, and while Bayern did score four goals in the first half, Lewa didn’t manage to get any. Both the Augsburg players and the football Gods seemed to have conspired to give this saga a poetic end and leave Lewandowski’s goal tally equal with Müller’s 40. As the minutes went by, it felt more and more likely that Lewa would go goalless, for no matter how much he tried nothing would go his way. Then, in the 90th minute, a shot from Leroy Sané bounced off Augsburg’s goalkeeper, leaving Lewa to pounce on the ball and finally put the matter to end. As the referee blew the full-time whistle just seconds after the 90th minute, with no extra time, Lewandowski fell to his knees with his head in his hands, realising not only the gravity of what he had achieved, but also how close he came to not achieving it. It took nearly half-a-century for Gerd Müller’s record to be overtaken; wonder how long it will take for someone to overtake Robert Lewandowski’s.
Apart from celebrations, Bayern also gave a proper send-off to many of their staff members. Manager Hansi Flick leaves after 19 months in charge of the team in which he won every major club trophy there is out there. Club legends David Alaba, Jérôme Boateng and Javi Martínez leave the club after thirteen, ten and nine years, respectively. Assistant managers Miroslav Klose and Hermann Gerland also leave.
Final League Table (Courtesy – FotMob)