Bundesliga wrap: Robert Lewandowski bids Dortmund farewell
Bundesliga wrap: Bayern Munich-bound Robert Lewandowski bids Dortmund farewell at Westfalien Stadion
So, to the wire we go…
By 6pm on Saturday, 10 May, two from Hamburg, Nurnberg and Eintracht Braunschweig will be dealing with the stain of relegation from Germany’s top-flight, while the other one will turn their thoughts to surviving a two-legged play-off against the third-placed side in Bundesliga 2. I’ve never used ‘-’ so much in my life! Who deserves to stay and who deserves to go? Very hard to say. Nurnberg appeared to have given up the ghost when they sacked Gertjan Verbeek with three games to go. Two of those three have been played, and zero points collected. Short of a miracle on the final matchday, they’re likely down. Braunschweig have shown the courage of their symbol – a lion – but a lack of quality means they too are likely to go down. Which leaves the ‘Dino’. HSV will more than likely end up in the play-off, but they will need to completely overhaul their performances of recent weeks if they are to avoid their first ever Bundesliga relegation. The tension on Matchday 34 will be too much to take for some.
So long Robert
Out of context, the sight of a professional male footballer walking off the pitch clutching a huge bouquet of flowers might seem odd. But this is Germany, so get on with it. Robert Lewandowski said his farewells to Borussia Dortmund and Signal Iduna Park/Westfalien Stadion before the edgy win over Hoffenheim. Seeing as he is leaving to join their biggest rivals without bringing in a fee, the send-off was as heart-warming and pleasant as any player leaving a club could expect. The Pole was subbed off with a few minutes to go so he could receive full love from the ‘Yellow Wall’. Chech out the vine, it’s worth it. At another Borussia, it was amazing that Marc-Andre ter Stegen was even able to see, never mind make some outstanding stops as he seemed to spend the whole 90 minutes in tears. The 22-year-old is set to leave Monchengladbach in the summer, with Barcelona the reported destination. Ter Stegen is not a shy lad, and was quite testy when challenged on how the Spanish giant’s transfer ban would affect him. But now that is suspended, the German international will expect to head to La Liga in the summer.
Three into one doesn’t go
That’s the sum total of my maths knowledge there. Ha, sum! Geddit. Ahem, anyway. Three sides are chasing one last Champions League spot and it’s Leverkusen who have the advantage over Wolfsburg and Monchengladbach. They also hold one other slight ace – the Wolves and the Foals face each other on Matchday 34, meaning one or the other will cancel each other out, or even worse for both, draw. Leverkusen have finished the season strong under the guidance of Sascha Lewandowski and have made a positive appointment in Roger Schmidt for next time out. Wolfsburg and Gladbach can both be happy with their work in 2013/14 however, with Europa League football confirmed in 2014/15, but there’s still a twist in the tail for all three clubs. All Leverkusen need to do is better or match the result of the other two. Or draw and hope that Gladbach beat Wolfsburg. More tension than the average Bundesliga fan can take!
Goals, goals and more goals
Every game on Matchday 33 had goals. In an era when buses are parked and defences come out on top, you just can’t argue with that. There were stories all over the league. Aaron Hunt won a fair play award for his insistence a penalty should not be given in his favour against Nurnberg two months ago. The Bremen man will leave Werder this summer – Besiktas a likely destination – and he signed off in style with a delightful finish as an already safe Bremen beat Hertha Berlin. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored on his 100th Bundesliga appearance to seal Schalke’s automatic qualification for next year’s Champions League, while Stuttgart’s Bundesliga future was assured despite losing at home to Wolfsburg. Seemingly adrift when Huub Stevens replaced Thomas Schneider, it is a fantastic achievement by the southerners, who must now approach 2014/15 with some excitement.
Results: Hamburg 1-4 Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Hoffenheim, Freiburg 0-2 Schalke, Frankfurt 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen 2-0 Hertha Berlin, Nurnberg 0-2 Hannover, Braunschweig 0-1 Augsburg, Gladbach 3-1 Mainz, Stuttgart 1-2 Wolfsburg