The Bundesliga Title Race is Going Down to the Wire.
It has been 9 years since the Bundesliga title race has come down to match day.
International Soccer News: For the first time in nine years, the world is watching as Bundesliga heads into Matchday 34 with no champion yet confirmed as FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund continue their thrilling title tussle.
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The top spot in the Bundesliga table has changed hands five times in the 2018/19 season as Bayern and Dortmund have reeled one another in.
The reigning champions have thrown away four-point leads, overturned a nine-point gap after Matchday 15 and now lead by two with a game to go.
Niko Kovac’s team have held pole position since beating their rivals 5-0 at the Allianz Arena in Der Klassiker on Matchday 28 and have the chance to wrap up a record-extending 28th Bundesliga title when they host Kovac’s former club Eintracht Frankfurt on the final day.
It would no doubt be the perfect swansong for departing legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery as they play their final league game in Bayern colours.
For the latter it would be a record-breaking ninth Bundesliga title, moving ahead of legends Oliver Kahn, Mehmet Scholl, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm to become the most decorated player in Bundesliga history.
The fact Ribery is even in a position to do so is down to Bayern’s incredible form since the winter break that has seen them claim 39 of a possible 48 points in the second half of the season – eight more than BVB.
It means the men from Munich know exactly what they have to do to be crowned champions on Matchday 34 – which is also, incredibly, the first time they would be confirmed as Bundesliga winners whilst playing at their Allianz Arena.
In all likelihood, a draw should also be enough thanks to Bayern’s superior goal difference.
If they win, there is nothing Dortmund can do as they take on Borussia Mönchengladbach in the simultaneous kick-off.
Kovac is aware of that but has stated he wants to take no risks: “We need one point but we want to win it.”
That point would mean Dortmund have to beat Borussia Mönchengladbach by a record-breaking 17 goals, although this fixture has produced a record result in the past.
Back in the 1977/78 season, it was Gladbach chasing the title and in need of a big goal swing to pip 1. FC Köln. They beat Dortmund 12-0 at home – still the largest victory in Bundesliga history – but it still wasn’t enough after the Billy Goats beat FC St. Pauli 5-0 to lift the title by three goals.
BVB revenge for that
recordloss could be historic in many ways.
Of course, that may not be necessary if Bayern are beaten at home. In that case a win of any sort for Marco Reus’ troop, back at his former club, will suffice to end the Munich club’s seven-year reign and earn Dortmund a sixth Bundesliga title.
It would be a first winner’s medal for BVB captain Reus after so many years of injury woes, as well as a fitting farewell for departing American winger Christian Pulisic.
Behind the two leaders, there is another keenly contested race going on, this time for UEFA Champions League qualification. Bayern, Dortmund and RB Leipzig have secured the first three of four group stage berths, but four teams are all vying for that final spot.
Gladbach are the current incumbents, but only on goal difference ahead of Bayer 04 Leverkusen and a point clear of Frankfurt. As mentioned, the Foals have the unenviable task of taking on title-chasing Dortmund on the final day. Gladbach will likely need to match the results of Frankfurt and Leverkusen, while hoping the latter don’t win by two more goals than they do.
Leverkusen is in the capital taking on Hertha Berlin as they look to end their two-year Champions League absence. Leverkusen
Frankfurt has brought delight to Bundesliga fans this season with their style of play, which has also seen them reach the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League. If they want to step it up a notch and play in the Champions League for just the second time in their history, Luka Jovic and Co. will need a result away at Bayern, combined with Gladbach and Leverkusen dropping points.
Wolfsburg is also in with a slim chance but need an improbable goal swing to help them.
It means all eyes will be on the Allianz Arena and Borussia-Park. Both the destination of the Bundesliga Meisterschale and European qualification will be settled in 90 minutes at those state-of-the-art stadiums.
It’s a gripping season finale. It’s football as it’s meant to be.
Source: Bundesliga release
Top Image: Robert Lewandowski scored his 200th and 201st Bundesliga goals as Bayern Munich roared back to the top of the Bundesliga with a 5-0 mauling of Borussia Dortmund – Courtesy of beinsports.com