Episode 10. Bayern Munich 5-2 FC Augsburg
Bundesliga Matchday 34
May 22, 2021
Allianz Arena, Munich
Lineup: Neuer — Pavard, Boateng (Martinez 60), Hernandez, Davies — Kimmich, Alaba(Tolisso 74) — Gnabry (Sane 60), Muller (Choupo-Moting 74), Coman (Musiala 60) — Lewandowski
Goalscorers: Gouweleeuw 9’ (OG), Gnabry 22’, Kimmich 33’, Coman 43’, Lewandowski 90’/Hahn 67’, Niederlechner 72’
On paper, this match wasn’t really anything special. Bayern Munich had wrapped up their Bundesliga title two matchdays ago, and there was nothing but pride to play for. Yes, one may argue that they needed to salvage some pride after their 2-2 draw with Freiburg on the previous matchday, but the champions could not be mathematically toppled from their spot no matter what the result.
Opponents Augsburg also had little riding on the line, having already secured another season in the Bundesliga. But having won only once in their past six games, they were probably looking for some pride, more than Bayern in fact.
On Munich’s end, there were still a few things that made the game more special than it seemed. For one, Robert Lewandowski was just one goal shy of breaking Gerd Muller’s record for most goals in a single Bundesliga season. Lewandowski and Muller were tied at 40 goals each, and it remained to be seen whether the Pole could break that record after one of the most prolific seasons of his career. The game also served as a farewell match for departing trio Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng, and David Alaba, not to mention coach Hansi Flick and assistant coaches Hermann Gerland and Miroslav Klose. Would it be a happy ending for everyone involved?
Bayern started with Boateng and Alaba in the first eleven, with Martinez guaranteed to come on at some point. The champions wasted no time in getting on the scoresheet, Serge Gnabry’s cross being turned into the visitors’ net by Augsburg captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw after just nine minutes. Gnabry then got a goal of his own when he connected with the ball after it had been ping-ponged around in the area.
Lucas Hernandez conceded a cheap penalty midway through the first half, but Manuel Neuer denied Daniel Caligiuri with a strong save. Bayern responded through Joshua Kimmich, who fired home quite a belter from thirty or so yards out. Ten minutes later, Kingsley Coman scored a long range effort as well, although his shot was more a low arrow compared to Kimmich’s high rocket.
Lewandowski was chasing that elusive goal but was denied repeatedly by the opposing defense and keeper Rafal Gikiewicz. To make matters slightly worse, Bayern conceded off a set-piece header from Andre Hahn. Just five minutes later, the visitors halved the deficit through a goal from Florian Niederlechner.
But that was the end of Augsburg’s futile attempt at a comeback, and Bayern took their time in honoring Boateng and Alaba as they were both subbed off before full time. Martinez, meanwhile, took to the field in the last half hour of the game to see his Bundesliga career out.
All eyes were now on Lewandowski as the minutes passed by. But lo and behold, he did get his goal, and in dramatic fashion. Just as the clock struck ninety, Leroy Sane’s long range effort was fumbled by Gikiewicz, and Lewandowski pounced on the second ball to score his 41st goal of the campaign, breaking a 40-year-old record.
Why was this match special?
It was a fitting farewell for so many. Boateng, Alaba, and Martinez got to say their goodbyes in style, as did the departing coaches. The trio finished their Bayern careers with a boatload of trophies each, including two trebles, one sextuple, and a ton of Bundesligas. Bayern will miss them dearly, not just their valuable experience, but also the hard work that they constantly put into the club. That work ethic is not something that hundreds of millions of euros will get you anywhere.
It also marked the end of a successful era under Hansi Flick. Flick was by no means a perfect coach, there is no such thing. But he was the closest thing to a perfect coach that Bayern had seen in a long time, and he ended his Bayern journey with seven trophies in the space of just two years. Now that’s impressive. What better way to say goodbye to a coach defined by his bold, attacking style than with a blowout win that featured said exact style?
Of course, this game wouldn’t have been complete without Lewandowski’s record-breaking goal. Lewandowski enjoyed the best league season of his career, clinching the top scorer award and scoring a whopping 41 goals in just 29 games. Had it not been for his injury, it could have been more. I guess we’ll never know.
On a smaller note, this match was unique in that it featured Bayern wearing their new away kit of the season. Normally, the final match of the season would showcase the new home kit, as has been the case for many years. But this year, for some reason, the away kit was released first, and was worn on the final matchday. In fact, at the time of writing, the new home kit still has not been released. But few are complaining; in fact, the new sleek black and gold away kit was a good choice to wear on such a special day.
And finally, it was not just a farewell for Bayern’s faithful, but also for referee Markus Schmidt, who officiated the final match of his career before retiring.
The Bayern team received their medals and the Meisterschale shortly after the final whistle went. Captain Neuer yielded the trophy to Martinez, Boateng, and Alaba to lift first, just as he did to Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and Rafinha upon their departures from Munich two years ago. What a gentleman.
Lewandowski also received his fourth consecutive Torjagerkanone, having finished top scorer of the Bundesliga in every season since 2017/2018.
The team thus put an end to a dramatic, entertaining, and ultimately successful season, having won four trophies and written history. But there was little time to rest for most of the squad, as the European Championship was just around the corner. Neuer and his German compatriots headed to Austria to join Die Mannschaft, while the rest of the internationals did the same to their national teams. Let’s hope for a fun and exciting Euros!