The 2020-21 Bundesliga season is in the books, and it ended the same way the other eight seasons have: with Bayern Munich once again crowned kings of Germany.
The Bavarians – led by record-breaking talisman Robert Lewandowski – remain head and shoulders ahead of their competitors, who once again failed to give Bayern much of a fight for the title.
But despite the predictability of Bayern retaining their crown, it was nevertheless another exciting Bundesliga campaign full of fascinating stories up and down the table, from Andre Silva to Union Berlin flying high to Werder Bremen and Schalke going down.
So read on below as SBOTOP recaps all the most memorable takeaways from another fabulous Bundesliga season.
Bayern, Lewandowski still the best in Germany by far
Bayern Munich were far from perfect this season. They were a shadow of the dominant side that swept everyone in its path en route to the Treble, in part due to fatigue and injuries. Hansi Flick’s aggressive pressing style with a high defensive line did not work nearly as well as they conceded a whopping 44 goals — the most they’ve given up in a decade.
But for all their faults, it still did not matter as they won their ninth straight Bundesliga title by a quite comfortable margin.
Of course, it also helps that they have the best player in not only in Germany but even in Europe and quite possibly the world in Robert Lewandowski. Lewy had another outstanding year as he finally broke Gerd Muller’s seemingly unbreakable single-season scoring record by banging in 41 goals – and he did so in just 29 games, five fewer than the 34 games Der Bomber played to score his 40.
This amazing milestone is further evidence that ‘LewanGOALski’ is the undisputed top marksman in the game at the moment and that even at age 32, he – and Bayern – figure to reign in Germany for years to come.
Other contenders fail to challenge Bayern
Bayern’s prolonged reign at the top has also been aided by the fact that none of the other top contenders can pose a sustained title challenge.
Borussia Dortmund had the best Bundesliga 2021 betting odds to give Bayern a title battle, but despite possessing two of the top young talents in world football in Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, they came nowhere close to challenging Bayern at the top.
BVB sacked manager Lucien Favre midway into the campaign, and while Edin Terzic deserves credit for delivering the DFB-Pokal and securing Champions League football, it is still a disappointment for Dortmund to be so far behind their rivals.
RB Leipzig valiantly pushed Bayern for most of the season, but not even Julian Nagelsmann’s tactical wizardry could overcome the Red Bulls’ glaring Timo Werner-shaped hole in their squad. And now, Nagelsmann and Dayot Upamecano will be heading to Bayern next season, which will deal a significant blow to their title aspirations.
Even surprise packages Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt could both take a step back next year as they make managerial changes. So unless Dortmund get their act together under Marco Rose, next season’s Bundesliga title race figures to be even less competitive than it was this year.
Ronaldo heir Andre Silva finally breaks out
Eintracht Frankfurt’s fantastic season ultimately ended on a flat note. The Eagles were soaring high in the top four for most of the year, but their late-season collapse saw them miss out on the Champions League.
Nevertheless, they should still be lauded for their surprising success, which was greatly aided by Andre Silva’s breakout campaign.
The Portuguese striker was once labelled as the future of Portugal by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, but he looked to be a bust after a disappointing spell with AC Milan.
However, the 25-year-old has fully rehabilitated his reputation at Frankfurt, where he has scored an astounding 45 goals in 71 appearances over two seasons. Twenty-eight of those goals have come in this brilliant Bundesliga campaign as he broke the club’s record for most goals in a single season and finished second in the league behind the record-breaking Lewandowski.
With Frankfurt manager Adi Hutter and sporting director Fredi Bobic both moving on, Silva is almost surely on his way out as well. And after two incredibly productive years in the Bundesliga, Silva has certainly earned a big-money move to another big club this summer.
Union Berlin bound for Europe
The Bundesliga trend in recent years has been that newly promoted clubs would stay up for one season before going back down in the next. Many expected Union Berlin to suffer a similar fate this season, but much to their surprise, this little club is not only safely back for a third season in the Bundesliga, but they are also going to Europe.
Die Eisernen had another brilliant campaign as they finished seventh to snag the Bundesliga’s UEFA Europa Conference League place next season.
Max Kruse was a wonderful signing as he led the team with 11 goals and added five assists. It was his stoppage-time goal that gave them the win over RB Leipzig on the last day of the season and sent them to Europe.
But even when the 33-year-old missed significant time due to injury, Union stayed the course and continued to pick up good Bundesliga 2021 results. Aside from beating Leipzig, they also won against Dortmund and took at least a point from all other top-six teams this season.
Here’s hoping this terrific Cinderella story continues to get even better next year.
Two more Bundesliga stalwarts go down
While Union Berlin are staying up, two of the longest-tenured Bundesliga clubs in Werder Bremen and Schalke have gone down.
Werder — four-time Bundesliga champions, most recently in 2003-04 — have finally been relegated after 40 consecutive top-flight seasons, the fourth-longest streak behind Bayern (56), Dortmund (45), and Bayer Leverkusen (42).
Meanwhile, Schalke – who finished second just four years ago – have suffered the drop for the first time in 30 years.
Werder and Schalke join Hamburg and Stuttgart in the growing list of storied German clubs who have gone down in recent years. While Stuttgart have come back up twice in recent years, Hamburg have yet to return since leaving the Bundesliga in 2018.
Hopefully, both Werder and Schalke can rebuild themselves better and gain promotion back to the Bundesliga in the near future.