The 2017-18 Bundesliga came to an end on Saturday with goals galore. The nine matches saw thirty six goals scored. As Bayern Munich were crowned champions at the Allianz Arena, things were on fire (literally) at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg. Champions League places, Europa league places, and the relegation places were decided.
Let’s take a trip around the Bundesliga!
Schalke finished the season with a victory at home against Eintracht Frankfurt to send the club to a second place finish, eight points ahead of their closest challengers. There hasn’t been a lot of people talking about Schalke this season, because there isn’t really a lot to talk about. Domenico Todesco has done a wonderful job getting this scrappy side into this position, but it’s hard to see them making any noise in the Champions League next year without some big transfers this summer.
Hoffenheim pulled out a huge victory over Borussia Dortmund to complete their ascent into the Champions League, and both teams will now enter the competition together. Hoffenheim needed to secure all three points for their best chance at qualifying and Julian Nagelsmann’s men got the job done. Teams three, four, and five all finished on 55 points, which meant that goal differential would decide which teams were playing in which competition next season. With Hoffenheim and Dortmund both qualifying for the Champions, that meant Bayer Leverkusen were on the outside looking in.
Don’t forget! With the new rules of the Champions League beginning next season, all four teams will automatically enter the group stage.
Despite their victory over Hannover 96, Bayer Leverkusen have to settle for the Europa League. However, if they’re able to hold onto their young attackers this summer, Heiko Herrlich’s team could put on quite the showing next season in the Europa League.
RB Leipzig absolutely pounded Hertha Berlin to cement their place in the Europa League. Perhaps this season’s venture directly into the Champions League was a little too big for newest “big team” in the Bundesliga, but the Europa League may be the perfect fit for this group of players.
The third and final spot is where things get interesting.
If Eintracht Frankfurt manage to beat Bayern Munich next weekend in the DFB Pokal Final, they will jump straight into the group stage with Leverkusen, but if they don’t win, they won’t be in Europe at all next year. Due to Stuttgart’s big win over Bayern, they leapfrogged Frankfurt in the table, so they will enter the Europa League instead. Big ramifications for Bayern’s lackadaisical performance in the final matchday.
Wolfsburg were lucky that they were playing the already-relegated Köln who had nothing to play for on the day. A victory would guarantee Wolfsburg a spot in the relegation playoff against Holstein Kiel, and they smashed Köln 4-1 on the day to get that qualification. Wolfsburg will obviously be the favorites in that match, but you shouldn’t count out the plucky Kiel side yet.
THE CLOCK HAS STOPPED.
THE BUNDESLIGA DINOSAUR IS DEAD.
Hamburg were officially relegated to the 2.Bundesliga at the final whistle on the 34th and final match of the season. After multiple seasons of barely escaping a well-deserved punishment, Hamburg were unable to ward off the relegation demon and will, for the first time ever since it’s inception, play a season below the level of the Bundesliga.
It’s hard to argue that this is anything but well-deserved for a club that has gone from a perennial Bundesliga heavyweight to a joke. You would be hard-pressed to find a fan of any Bundesliga club that didn’t find some joy in today’s results.
Inside the Volksparkstadion, Borussia Mönchengladbach fans mocked Hamburg’s hated clock, by counting down the minutes until they were relegated.
Moenchengladbach fans use a banner to count down how many minutes rivals Hamburg are far from being relegated today, changing the minutes as the clock ticks! pic.twitter.com/ZAS1uW9U7K— Terrace Images (@TerraceImages) May 12, 2018
Werder Bremen fans displayed a giant clock in their match against Mainz with the words “GAME OVER” on full display.
Als im knapp 400 Kilometer von #Mainz entfernten #Wolfsburg ein Tor fiel, ging es im Bremer Fan-Block so richtig los. Party-Time für alle... https://t.co/h7IuMaXdJc#Werder #M05SVW #KOEWOB #HSV pic.twitter.com/kkMD4Xr4CU— DeichStube (@DeichStube) May 12, 2018
This isn’t to say that the Bundesliga doesn’t “need” a powerful Hamburg. Of course, it does. The Bundesliga would be a much better league if clubs like Hamburg, Köln, Werder, Gladbach, Frankfurt, etc were punching at or above their own weight.
Until that day comes...
Bayern Munich remain Kings of the Bundesliga.