FC Bayern München may already have wrapped up the title, but there was an awful lot riding on the final day of the Bundesliga season.
At the top of the table, four teams duked it out for a place in next season’s Champions League, while down at the bottom, three teams were fighting for survival.
It was also the final match of Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes, who was looking to go out on a high in front of his home crowd.
All nine games of matchday 34 kicked off at the exact same time to bring the season to a thrilling conclusion.
So what happened?
Champions Bayern stunned by Stuttgart
With the title already won, motivation was always going to be a potential problem for Bayern against VfB tuttgart.
Still, as the farewell game for boss Jupp Heynckes, you would have expected the champions to put up a better performance than they did.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) May 12, 2018
As it was, Heynckes’ final game in charge saw Bayern suffer a shock 4-1 defeat – made all the more stunning by the fact that it happened in front of the Allianz Arena faithful.
At least Bayern and their departing coach could console themselves with the fact that they are champions of Germany again.
The defeat was soon forgotten as the German giants celebrated their sixth successive Bundesliga title.
Hoffenheim qualify for Champions League after beating Dortmund
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim knew they needed a victory in their final game against Borussia Dortmund if they were to have any chance of Champions League football. And that’s just what they delivered as Julian Nagelsmann thumped Peter Stoger’s charges 3-1 at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
— TSG Hoffenheim (@achtzehn99) May 12, 2018
The margin of victory was a worrying one for Dortmund. They had to keep their eyes on Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who were eyeing a big enough win over Hannover 96 to not only move level on points with Dortmund in fourth place – but ahead of them with a superior goal difference.
As it turned out, Leverkusen got the victory, but not quite a big enough one to secure fourth, and Dortmund limped over the finish line and into the Champions League by the skin of their teeth.
That wasn’t enough to save Stoger’s job, however. The Austrian resigned from his position after the defeat.
Leverkusen suffer late heartbreak against Hannover
You could barely have scripted a more dramatic finish to the season for Bayer Leverkusen.
Needing a big win at home over Hannover to have any chance of Champions League football, they looked for a long time as they would pull off the incredible feat. Dortmund were losing to Hoffenheim, and despite an early missed penalty, Leverkusen scored three amazing goals to find themselves 3-0 up against Hannover.
It looked like they were going to get the fourth goal they wanted when the referee pointed to the penalty spot five minutes from time – but VAR would dramatically rule out the penalty and break Leverkusen hearts.
Great team effort, boys!
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) May 12, 2018
Even worse, the decision seemed to take the wind out of the home side’s sails, allowing Hannover to score two-stoppage time goals and erase any chance Heiko Herrlich’s side had of Champions League football.
Leipzig win final game but it’s not enough
RB Leipzig also had an outside chance of securing Champions League football with a win over Hertha Berlin, but they were relying on other results to go their way.
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) May 12, 2018
As it turned out, Leverkusen and Hoffenheim had ideas of their own, so a thrilling 6-2 victory in Berlin proved to be only enough to secure sixth place.
Hamburg relegated for the first time in their history
It was a sad day indeed for fans of Hamburger SV, as the historic German club got relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in its long history.
A 2-1 win over VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach proved too little too late, after VfL Wolfsburg beat 1. FC Köln 4-1.
Hamburg fans just before they were officially relegated pic.twitter.com/UTVU25RPDL
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 12, 2018
Unfortunately, fans did not take their club’s relegation well, and angry demonstrations delayed the final whistle. Gladbach fans in the away end didn’t help by having a clock counting down the minutes to Hamburg going down.
Wolfsburg give themselves a chance of survival
Die Wolfe knew they needed nothing less than a win to secure 16th place and give themselves a chance of staying in the Bundesliga by earning a place in the relegation play-off match.
And Bruno Labbadia’s men did what they had to do, beating already-relegated Köln 4-1 to keep their Bundesliga hopes alive.
Freiburg avoid the drop
There was celebration at the Schwarzwald-Stadion as SC Freiburg made sure of their place in the Bundesliga with a 2-0 victory over FC Augbsurg.
— SC Freiburg (@scfreiburg) May 12, 2018
The victory saw them finish safely out of the bottom three, signaling a wave of relief for coach, players and fans alike.
Schalke too good for Frankfurt
FC Schalke 04 showed they were full value for their second position on the table by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 to finish eight points clear of Hoffenheim.
As for Frankfurt, the loss marked their fourth defeat in five games, a run of losses that spoiled any chance of European football next season.
Their loss in form appeared to coincide with the news that coach Niko Kovac would be taking over from Jupp Heynckes at Bayern next season.
Bremen win away at Mainz
1. FSV Mainz 05 couldn’t beat SV Werder Bremen at home, but thankfully for them they’d done just about enough to survive the drop by beating Dortmund away from home the week before.
For Bremen, a solid 2-1 victory to cap off the season and secure 11th place on the table.