Borussia Dortmund ended their season with a 3-1 comfortable victory over Bayer Leverkusen. The match also witnessed the emotional farewell of multiple personalities, though the result had no impact on the season.
Having secured the Champions League qualification for the next season last weekend, Dortmund had nothing to play for. The same was the case for Leverkusen who have qualified for Europa League and had little motivation. The game resonated with this as both teams played with very little urgency.
The match was however special as it saw multiple retirements. Dortmund legend Lukasz Piszczek bid his farewell after 11 years of service with the club. Leverkusen pair of Lars and Sven Bender also played their final game for their club as the twin brothers decided to hang up their boots. The match also was the final game for the Bundesliga referee Manuel Grafe.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3 – 1 BAYER LEVERKUSEN: TEAM NEWS
Dortmund made multiple changes to the side that defeated Mainz last Sunday. At the back, Emre Can, Nico Schulz and Lukasc Piszczek replaces Mats Hummels, Raphael Guerreiro and Thomas Meunier. Piszczek who will be playing his final game for Dortmund is named as the captain. In midfield, Bellingham made way for Delaney while in attack Reyna and Sancho are replaced by Brandt and Reinier.
The twin brothers Sven and Lars Bender of Leverkusen are also playing their final match for their club. While Lars will only start on the bench, Sven Bender will replace suspended Tapsoba in defence. Paulinho, Gray, and Bellarabi get their place in the final starting eleven of the season replacing Amiri, Diaby, and Schick.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3 – 1 BAYER LEVERKUSEN: POST-MATCH ANALYSIS
The game had a fast start with Leverkusen controlled the ball from the beginning. However, Dortmund continued their trend of scoring early in the 5th minute. Leverkusen midfielder Demirbay lost the ball to Brandt in their half, which was taken by Reinier who sets it up for Haaland. The Norwegian do what he does best as he finished it comfortably. Leverkusen came back to the game afterward, controlling more of the ball as Dortmund started to sit deep. Goalkeeper Roman Burki made vital saves to keep the 1-0 lead safe for Dortmund in the first half.
Dortmund made a forced substitution at the beginning of the second half, with Bellingham replacing a limping Dahoud in the midfield. However, Dortmund doubled their lead quickly. Brandt was fouled just outside the penalty box and a free-kick was awarded. The bending free-kick taken by Reus went in for a goal as the Leverkusen keeper was blinded by the opposition players in the box.
The game was put into bed in the 83rd minute when the Leverkusen defence passed the ball to Haaland by mistake who scored his 27th goal in the league this season. There was a late twist in the match when Leverkusen was awarded a penalty. Lars Bender who came on as a substitute for his brother Sven converted it as goalkeeper Burki stay put to give the retiring player one last glory. The match ended soon afterward with a score of 3-1, extending Dortmund’s winning streak in Bundesliga to 7 matches.
Erling Haaland (8.5/10): Haaland had an excellent game, with the Norwegian scoring a brace. His first goal was also his 40th goal for Dortmund in this campaign in all competitions. He was clinical as always scoring 2 goals from the 3 shots he took. Though he only finished third in the goal scorers list in Bundesliga this season, after Lewandowski and Andre Silva, it is a testimony to the huge talent that he has.
Lukasz Piszczek, Sven Bender and Lars Bender (10/10): All three of them are included in this because of their contribution to the game and Bundesliga. Piszczek has been one of the longest-serving players in the Dortmund squad and an important player for them over the years. Sven played for both Leverkusen and Dortmund while Lars was a long-standing servant of Leverkusen. While it was sad that their farewell didn’t happen inside a packed Signal Iduna Park, the fans across the world will always love them for their contribution to the beautiful game.
Dortmund winning the match meant that they finished the season at 3rd with 64 points. Leverkusen’s 52 points meant that they finished 6th in this season of Bundesliga. With emotional farewells, the season comes to a close. Both the teams will now head towards their summer break as they will return back to Bundesliga next season under new managers.