The joy of sport is its unpredictability. There are the favorites, the perennial winners, but there is also a place for the underdogs – the dreamers.
But for too many years such against-the-odds romance has been absent from Germany’s Bundesliga, with Bayern Munich winning a record 10 consecutive league titles to rid the championship of any surprises in the last decade.
In fact, the last season Bayern didn’t win the championship was the 2011/12 campaign, when now Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp guided Borussia Dortmund to the title.
That Bayern was to end each season as the German top-division league champion had become a given. But this season things are different.
The title winners of many of Europe’s top leagues are already known – the Premier League (Manchester City), La Liga (Barcelona) and Serie A (Napoli) – while in France it looks likely that Paris Saint-Germain will be crowned Ligue 1 champion, with the Parisian club needing just a point from its two remaining games to clinch a record 11th league title.
That leaves soccer fans looking to the Bundesliga for a dose of end-of-season drama with the championship set to be decided on the final day of the season.
A surprise loss for Bayern on Saturday has put Dortmund in the driving seat.
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Bayern’s shock 3-1 loss to Leipzig, a team which won in Munich for the first time on Saturday, has left the door open for Dortmund to stop Bayern from winning a record-extending 11th consecutive league title.
A 3-0 victory against FC Augsburg on Sunday moved Dortmund two points ahead of Bayern at the top of the table – a victory in its last match of the season, at home to Mainz, would secure the title.
Victor Osimhen is surrounded by Napoli fans after the team wins the Serie A title.
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“I don’t really want to stop the euphoria, but we still have one game left to play,” Dortmund sports director Sebastian Kehl said, per Reuters.
“We are taking in the euphoria, but we still need 90 minutes. We cannot allow this to be taken from us.”
Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel said he had “no explanation” as to how his team could lose at home when a win would have put Bayern in the driving seat for the title.
“It is inexplicable,” he said, per Reuters. “We stopped moving, stopped helping, stopped showing courage.”
Perhaps, Bayern had become complacent, suffering the shock loss despite taking a 25th-minute lead through Serge Gnabry.
From being in complete control, the Bavarians allowed Konrad Laimer to level before conceding two penalties which could prove extremely costly.
Former Chelsea and Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel took over at Bayern in March.
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Tuchel replaced the sacked Julian Nagelsmann in March with Bayern second in the table, but the former Dortmund boss may not be able to guide Bayern to the trophy that has for the last decade belonged to the Bavarian side.
Bayern travels to 10th-placed FC Köln on the final matchday hoping for a win and a surprise Dortmund slip up in what is set to be a tense final day.