The final day of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season and, with the top six spots sealed, most focus appeared to be on the battle to beat the drop.
However, there were collective and individual achievements of note at both ends of the table during an afternoon which produced plenty of Bundesliga highlights and cemented one sharp-shooter as one of the game’s all-time great goalscorers.
Robert Lewandowski had scored 40 times with one game of the 2020/21 season to go. The question pre-match was could the Bayern Munich striker break a record of Gerd Müller that had stood for almost half a century?
Certainly, FC Augsburg seemed the perfect opponents in the Allianz Arena – free from relegation and with nothing to play for as the champions aimed to sign off in style.
Their 30th Bundesliga title long since assured – from the start of next season, a fifth star will adorn the shirt of the record German champions to mark their achievement – the Bavarians raced into a four goal lead by the break.
Only issue was, the prolific Pole wasn’t on the scoresheet.
After going in front via an own goal, they doubled their lead courtesy of Serge Gnabry’s header and then, after Manuel Neuer saved a penalty, Bayern added two more before half-time through Joshua Kimmich and Kingsley Coman.
As Augsburg reduced the arrears with two second half goals, it seemed the main talking point would be the farewells to David Alaba, Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng – who left the field in tears when he was replaced on the hour mark.
Then, with seconds remaining, a shot from substitute Leroy Sane was parried and there was Lewandowski to react quickly and roll the ball into an empty net.
Amid jubilant scenes, the striker took his shirt off in celebration before coming to the side of the pitch to embrace the departing coach Hansi Flick.
A 41st league goal of the season and 53 goals in 46 games for club and country.
And for any readers who don’t know or remember how good ‘Der Bomber’ Muller was, just type his name into a Google search!
Lewandowski is now also in that class.
Let’s have a word about Flick too.
He has only been at Bayern a season and a half and is set to take over as manager of the German national team after the delayed Euro 2020.
However, while his lack of longevity precludes him from being a Bayern great, his record during 86 games as boss is superb.
Won 70, drawn eight, lost eight.
This SBOTOP observer believes he may one day return to the club who this season has scored in every league match – just the third team in Bundesliga
history to find the net in all matches of a single season after Cologne (1963-64) and Bayern themselves in 2012-13.
When they were promoted, few gave Arminia Bielefeld a chance of survival.
After all, their recent history had been a series of near-misses and they had the smallest budget in town.
Well, their triumph in securing a second successive season in the top flight should be lauded.
It was confirmed as second-half goals from captain Fabian Klos and Ritsu Doan gave them a 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart.
They have now claimed nine points from six away games under manager Frank Kramer.
With five goals and two assists apiece, Doan and Klos have also had a hand in 50 percent of Arminia’s 26 strikes this season.
What’s more they kept their 11th clean sheet of the league season to equal their own club record from 1970/71. #Respect
I had barely heard of Bornauw until this week.
Now he has earned himself a place in Cologne’s history.
Four minutes were remaining when he headed home against already-relegated Schalke in this meeting of the bottom two.
That, coupled with results elsewhere, meant Cologne have avoided automatic relegation, although still have a play-off to contend with.
Cologne needed the likes of Marius Wolf to shine to have any chance of survival yet, in the end, Boranuw provide the unlikely hero.
The Billy Goats also remain unbeaten in their last eight Bundesliga meetings with Schalke.
Erling Braut Haaland
Borussia Dortmund have enjoyed a great end to the season, winning the German Cup and sealing a Champions League spot when, at one point, the Bundesliga betting odds suggested they would miss out.
The main man in that revival has been Haaland, whose double against Bayer Leverkusen confirmed third spot in the league before the Norwegian swapped shirts with referee Manuel Grafe who was officiating in his final match.
Haaland has scored two or more goals in 11 different matches this term – only Gerd Müller did so in 1971/72 in more different games (12).
For the first time since 1981, Bremen will not be in the top flight next season.
Borussia Monchengladbach may have seen their European hopes disappear before this one, but they were in no mood to ease off the pace.
The game was only a few minutes old when Lars Stindl fired them in front and Bremen never recovered, falling 4-0 behind before saving some face with two goals in the closing stages.
The four-time Bundesliga champions boast more top-flight seasons than any other club. A sad end to the day for Thomas Schaaf who was taking charge for the 645th time in all competitions.