Last Bundesliga matchday
Dortmund in a state of emergency – Bavaria threatens changing of the guard
The prospect of the first championship title in eleven years fuels football euphoria in Dortmund. But is the leader up to the pressure? Or does FC Bayern still avert the change of power?
Historic chance for BVB, last straw for FC Bayern – after years of boredom in the fight for the title, the Bundesliga is facing a change of power.
At the end of a memorable race to catch up, the Revierclub from Dortmund, which still seemed to be defeated in winter, is preparing to push the sole ruler from Munich, who has been in office for a decade, from the throne.
If coach Edin Terzic’s team beat FSV Mainz on Saturday, Bayern’s hegemony would be over for the time being and the record champions’ first untitled season since 2012 would be perfect. “It would mean something to break Bayern’s dominance after so many years. Also to show that we’re not always second. It would be a big boost,” said BVB sports director Sebastian Kehl, hoping for a happy one End in the eternal duel between the two industry leaders.
Terzic: “We want to crown our path”
The longing for a title in Dortmund is huge. At least 200,000 fans are expected if the car parade around the iconic Borsigplatz, which is planned for Pentecost Sunday, is successful. At the beginning of the week, there were only a few beds in the city’s hotels – at exorbitant prices of 700 euros and more. Even almost unfurnished apartments on Borsigplatz cost a thousand euros per night.
Coach Terzic is in good spirits that his team will not be overwhelmed by these immense expectations and that this time they will no longer give up the lead they took on the previous day: “We’re not done yet, but we’re ready. As a team, as a club, as a city. We want to top our path with a win on Saturday.”
But can his team really withstand the great pressure? In the second half of the season, Borussia convinced as a hunter, but showed nerves as the leader of the table. The top spot they had won was lost again on the very next day. That sharpens the senses for the showdown against Mainz. “In second place, we had this absolute focus on the games, we were very self-confident, strong and dominant. We have to keep going,” commented Sébastien Haller.
Tuchel speaks of “a minimal chance”
Despite all the tension, the striker feels enormous anticipation for the possible championship party: “The last step must now follow. We all really want to be part of such a special club moment. I sometimes drive my car across Borsigplatz. But I want this place be sure to see it full of people.”
Despite a two-point deficit, Bayern still have faith in the title. At least the greater experience in dramatic final chords speaks for the record champion. A point on the last day of the 1999/2000 season at SpVgg Unterhaching would have been enough for Leverkusen to win their first German championship. But Bayern took advantage of Leverkusen’s 2-0 defeat by beating Bremen 3-1 and still triumphed. In the stoppage time of the 2000/01 season, Bayern snatched the league from FC Schalke at the last moment. The Revierclub from Gelsenkirchen only had the reputation as “master of hearts”.
Will the people of Munich manage a last-minute coup this time too? Coach Thomas Tuchel didn’t sound really aggressive on Friday and only spoke of “a minimal chance”: “We have to win – and then we need support.” Julian Nagelsmann’s successor refrained from stirring up emotions with declarations of war on BVB: “We have enough to do with ourselves. We have to win again and have to show a reaction from a low – how far too often.”
FC Bayern before a turning point
President Herbert Hainer, who is still hoping for a big party for men and women on Munich’s Marienplatz, spread more confidence. “We all want FC Bayern to be able to celebrate two championship trophies with their fans on Sunday at the end of this exciting season.” In contrast to the men, the women’s team leads the table by two points before the last matchday.
Regardless of whether the President’s wish comes true, FC Bayern is facing a turning point. A noiseless transition to the agenda is not to be expected even with the eleventh championship title in a row. The end of the Champions League and Cup left too many traces for that. Even before the season finale, there is more debate about the future than the present. Does CEO Oliver Kahn have to go? Will sports director Hasan Salihamidzic also be entrusted with the next summer shopping spree? Which players should come – and which should go? Even before the championship final, Tuchel drew a sobering conclusion: “It won’t be a season that we’re happy with, no matter how it ends in the end.”