Bayern Munich 5-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
It briefly looked like us fans of the Bundesliga could be in for a final twist.
Early in the second half, with Borussia Dortmund 2-0 up at Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Munich were pegged back.
After a season of Bundesliga 2019 highlights galore, could there be more drama to come?
But the thought merely lasted a matter of minutes and no more.
Just as Manchester City had done in England six days ago, the German champions showed their character when they needed it most.
In the end, the Bundesliga 2019 betting odds were correct.
In the end, it was the perfect send-off for two of the club’s modern day greats.
Highlights of the game
For both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben to mark their final Bayern appearances with goals after coming off the bench was most fitting.
And there was also an on-pitch tribute for right-back Rafinha, who is leaving after eight seasons.
Here is a club which has been under the cosh at times this season. Beaten in the last 16 of the Champions League and struggling to dominate as in previous years.
Yet when it mattered, they emerged on top, clinching the title for the seventh successive year and ending Dortmund’s brave but ultimately futile efforts.
Of course, it’s easy to point to the nine-point lead Dortmund once held in the winter. Or the fact when Lucien Favre’s team got a few jitters and allowed Bayern to reel them in.
However, that would be extremely harsh on Niko Kovac’s side, which accepted the domestic challenge of spirited Dortmund — the toughest opponents they’d faced for some time and one which deserve enormous credit for their 2018/19 campaign – and still came through.
In fact, victory against RB Leipzig in the DFB Pokal next weekend will seal a league and cup double. More still, they have recognised the need to strengthen and acted.
Robben and Ribery will not be here when the first ball is kicked next season, but some new faces will be with the capture of Lucas Hernandez from Atlético Madrid for a fee understood to be a club record €80m (£68m).
They have also been quick to the signature of Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard — another French World Cup winner last summer — and are now being linked with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Ajax’s exciting David Neres among others.
So, there is no chance of this club standing still.
This was a day, though, of celebration and reflection.
When the talented Sebastien Haller tucked home an equaliser for Kovac’s former side five minutes into the second period, a few nerves could have been natural. Instead, Munich just stepped up a gear.
Already a goal to the good through Kingsley Coman’s cool fourth-minute finish, they quickly regained their advantage through David Alaba before one-time Swansea man Renato Sanches took advantage of more poor goalkeeping to seal the points and the title.
It was left to Ribery and Robben to apply the finishing touches.
First, the Frenchman jinked into the area on the diagonal, swivelled past two Frankfurt defenders before dinking his finish past the onrushing goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
Then the magical Dutchman Robben scored his 99th German league goal from about a yard out from Alaba’s low cross.
His team-mates, who surrounded Ribery moments earlier, embraced the Bayern veteran as the Allianz Arena went into party mode.
This was the perfect auf wiedersehen!
Frankfurt qualify for the Europa League second qualifying round next season, thanks to results elsewhere.
Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has been confirmed as the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer for the second year running with 22 goals – the fourth time he has ended the season with the Torjägerkanone prize.
Ribery has won a record-breaking nine Bundesliga titles — one more than fellow club legends Robben, Thomas Müller, Alaba, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Oliver Kahn and Mehmet Scholl.
Ribery has scored more Bundesliga goals than any other player from France (124 goals), while Robben is the top Dutch scorer in Bundesliga history (99 goals).
Ribery’s 23rd trophy with Bayern takes him level with legend Khan.
Kovac won the DFB Cup with Frankfurt last season, overseeing a 3-1 win over Bayern in the final. Bayern face Leipzig in this season’s final on 25 May.
Frankfurt are winless in their last 17 Bundesliga meetings with Bayern since beating the record champions 2-1 in March 2010. They have not won in Munich since November 2000.
There’s just one match remaining this season for Bayern – next week’s German Cup Final.
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