‘Most exciting finish in recent years’ – Can Dortmund end 11-year wait for title?

Three of the top five European football titles have already been decided; with Manchester City, Barcelona and Napoli all winning their respective leagues. In France Paris Saint-Germain are all but guaranteed to win Ligue 1, with a six-point and healthy goal difference lead over second-place Lens with just two games left.

But in the fifth league, it has gone right down to the wire. And for the first time in over a decade, Bayern Munich may not win the Bundesliga.

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After last week’s catastrophic 3-1 home defeat to RB Leipzig, the rekordmeister are two points behind rivals Borussia Dortmund with just one game to go. Bayern travel to FC Koln on Saturday whilst Dortmund will play host to Mainz. In Bayern’s favour is that they have a far superior goal difference, so should they win and Dortmund draw, they will lift the title. The brief for both teams is simple: they absolutely have to win.


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In order to gauge the mood in Germany, we got in touch with Eurosport’s Thomas Janz and Florian Bogner for an extra special ‘Inside Europe’…

Let’s start with the general feeling in Germany. How big is this final matchday?

“Of course, this is the most exciting last matchday in recent years,” explains Janz. “In 2019, the German championship was decided on the final matchday between Bayern and Dortmund. In 2009, the championship was also decided on the final matchday. At that time, VfL Wolfburg became German champions.”

Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund

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And what about the dominance of Bayern being ended, fans must be pleased about that?

“You can imagine that everyone except fans of Bayern Munich will be happy about the change. Even Hans Sarpei, former Schalke 04 player, the arch-rivals of Dortmund, said he would be happy if Dortmund would win the championship and they would deserve it,” Janz says.

In terms of this Dortmund team itself, it’s interesting to note that Bogner points out there have “surely been better Dortmund teams in terms of star power since 2012″.

He explains there were teams that had serious superstars such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland. The only true superstar in this team is England international Jude Bellingham.

Bogner points out that the problem was that Bayern were always better as a unit and the key this season is that “this team is really balanced. They have a good goalkeeper with Kobel and strong defenders with Niklas Sule, Nico Schlotterbeck and Mats Hummels; they found a solid midfield with Emre Can, Raphael Guerreiro and Bellingham.

“And in attack in 2023 Karim Adeyemi, Julian Brandt, Donyell Malen and Seb Haller have really been clicking.”

He adds in regard to this Dortmund team that “if it’s not the best, then the most determined. They had an incredible run with eight wins in a row (January until March) where they cut Bayern’s lead.

Jude Bellingham – Borussia Dortmund

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“The past three matchdays they had the hard task to always play the day after Bayern, so they had to perform under pressure against Wolfsburg and Mönchengladbach – but delivered. When Bayern choked against Leipzig they also showed strong nerves at Augsburg, winning 3-1 and securing their first away victory since late February.”

When asked about manager Edin Terzic and what he has brought to the team, with many wondering whether he was the right choice with so little experience at the top level, Bogner says “his philosophy was: play to your strengths, fight for your wins, show your determination.

“Which effectively translates as: play accordingly to the BVB roots. And they truly did. They showed more effort on the pitch compared to previous seasons and still they were playing spectacular football, scoring 56 goals since the World Cup – 15 more than Bayern.”

Thomas Tuchel (FC Bayern München)

Image credit: Getty Images

Janz thinks Dortmund will end up doing it, with both he and Bogner pointing to Dortmund’s “exceptional home record” with the team having won the most games, secured the most points and scored the most goals at home of any team in the league.

He also thinks that “Dortmund will be able to challenge Bayern in the future,” but admits he expects a strong reaction in Munich. He also says that “so far, nobody knows why this team [Bayern] have lost its self-confidence and self-understanding.”

It certainly promises to be a fascinating final matchday and can hopefully spell the start of a new era for the Bundesliga with a more open title race. You can follow along with both the Dortmund and Bayern matches with Eurosport’s live text commentary on Saturday.


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