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Bayer are the Best of the Bundesliga on Dramatic Last Day!

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In the roll of honour for league champions, in what order do you rank greatness?

Does that accolade go to a team which gains the highest ever points tally in a single league season or is it the side which goes through an entire league campaign unbeaten?

You can argue it all day long – and no doubt generations will – but the records will show that, in 2024, Bayer Leverkusen were the best of the Bundesliga and one of the best sides the German top flight has ever seen.

According to one poll, six of their team made the ‘Bundesliga team of the 2023-24 season’.

Furthermore, they already have two more cup finals to come.

But perhaps the biggest achievement in claiming their first ever Bundesliga title is going through the entire league campaign undefeated.

They had already made history nine days ago when, in progressing to the Europa League Final, they extended their unbeaten run to 49 consecutive games across all competitions – the longest undefeated streak by a top-flight team in history.

Could they finish the job with one more set of Bundesliga highlights at home to Augsburg?

Of course, they could!

After a 2-1 victory, Xabi Alonso’s men have now been immortalised as the first team to go an entire Bundesliga season unbeaten.

The opening goal was scored by newly crowned ‘rookie of the season’ Victor Boniface and a cheeky backheel from Robert Andrich put the icing on the cake on party day at the BayArena, which culminated in them being presented with the Bundesliga trophy for the first time in their history.

Elsewhere, the team they so emphatically toppled as champions, Bayern Munich, finished third but there was more focus on events off the pitch in truth.

Bundesliga: Thomas Tuchel has confirmed he will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season
Thomas Tuchel waves to fans after Bayern Munich’s match against VfL Wolfsburg

A petition from fans had called for manager Thomas Tuchel to stay but the former Chelsea boss revealed talks “did not reach an agreement” as he took his leave, no doubt feeling the club messed him around when they decided to part ways as early as February.

Finding a replacement will not necessarily be straightforward.

The Bavarians reportedly wanted to appoint their former midfielder Alonso but he opted to stay at Leverkusen, while Ralf Rangnick held talks before deciding to remain with the Austrian national team.

The performances of Bundesliga teams in Europe this season had already ensured German clubs would earn an extra berth in the new-format Champions League for next season – and the top five for that tournament were already confirmed.

That meant the main focus on the final day centered on the remaining European spots and if Union Berlin could avoid a relegation play-off.

It was hard to think this was the team that had finished fourth last term to qualify for the Champions League this season.

Since becoming the first club from the former East Berlin and the sixth from the former East Germany to reach the top tier, they had barely looked back.

Yet then it must also be remembered that, until four and a half years ago, they had never even graced Germany’s top flight either.

Berlin needed to beat Freiburg and hope other results went their way to climb out of 16th spot.

Their fall from grace could have been worse with automatic relegation but they could breathe easier at half-time as Cologne trailed Heidenheim 3-0 and were doomed.

The goal Berlin craved arrived midway through the second half when Benedict Hollerbach rifled a fine shot into the top corner from the edge of the box which helped consigned Bochum – who started the day in 14th position but were beaten 4-1 at Werder Bremen – to a relegation play-off on goal difference.

They appeared to have been handed a reprieve when Ritsu Doan headed home a Freiburg leveller with five minutes remaining.

However, there was to be one final twist and we were into stoppage time when the home side were awarded a second penalty of the contest.

As in the first half, the spot-kick was saved by Noah Atubolu, but Janik Haberer converted the rebound this time to spark wild scenes in the capital.

Union Berlin were safe!

In the race for the Europa League and Europa Conference spots, sixth place Eintracht Frankfurt – winners of the former competition in 2022 – looked safe, even as they trailed to a Xavi Simons penalty at home to Leipzig at the break.

That was because Hoffenheim were also 2-1 down at home to Bayern Munich.

Amazingly, all the goals were scored inside the opening eight minutes as Mathys Tel and Alphonso Davies were quickly on target before Maximilian Beier added a response for the home side.

Into the second period and Leipzig extended their advantage through Benjamin Sekso within a minute of the restart but the hosts would not be denied and drew level through Hugo Ekitike and an Omar Marmoiush spot kick

Likewise, Hoffenheim drew level with Bayern and then sealed a memorable win through a fine Andrej Kramaric hat-trick which allowed Stuttgart – 4-0 winners at home to Borussia Monchengladbach – to pip Bayern for second, even if it wasn’t quite enough for Hoffenheim to overhaul Frankfurth for sixth spot.

Interestingly, you will need more than Sbotop Bundesliga betting odds to tell you quite what happens next.

That is because, if Dortmund win the Champions League at Wembley next month, sixth placed Frankfurt will also be allowed into Europe’s top tier competition – the most ever from one nation.

Meanwhile, if Leverkusen win the German Cup to complete a domestic double, then seventh place Hoffenheim would claim a Europa League spot, with Heidenheim, who edged ahead of Werder Bremen on goal difference into eighth, going into the Conference League play-offs.

All will be revealed over the next fortnight!




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