BERLIN: Bayern Munich bid farewell to two giants of the game and the race to be Bundesliga’s top-scorer goes to the wire. Here are five things to look for in Saturday’s final round of German matches:
Beer showers, tears in Munich
For the fifth season in a row Bayern will be presented with the Bundesliga trophy at the Allianz Arena following the final whistle against Freiburg with emotions set to run high.
It will be the 517th and final Bayern appearance for Germany’s World Cup winning captain Philipp Lahm, 33, and Spain’s Xabi Alonso, 35, who are both hanging up their boots.
Watch out for the customary “Bierdusche” celebrations when the Bayern team eagerly empty over-sized glasses of wheat beer over each other.
The head coach is always a favourite target and Carlo Ancelotti would be wise to pack a second suit for the presentation of his first Bundesliga title.
The race to be the 2016/17 top-scorer in the Bundesliga will go to the last game.
With 30 league goals this season, Bayern predator Robert Lewandowski is favourite to retain the golden boot title he won last term.
However his arch-rival, Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, last season’s runner-up, will want to add to his 29 goals when his club host Werder Bremen.
Their nearest rival, Cologne’s Anthony Modeste, is way back on 25.
Lewandowski insists he is not thinking of the Golden Cannon — the trophy for the Bundesliga’s top-scorer — but just wants to better last season’s personal record of 30 goals.
But Bayern president Uli Hoeness says the hot-shot will be keeping an eye on his rival: “If Aubameyang scores two goals, Lewandowski is on red alert.”
Winner-takes-all in Hamburg
Darmstadt and Ingolstadt are already confirmed in the automatic relegation places, but there is a battle royal brewing for Hamburg’s home match with Wolfsburg.
Hamburg are 16th, which carries a two-legged relegation play-off at the end of the season against the team which finishes third in the second division, with Wolfsburg two points above in 15th — and safety.
“We have a chance to save ourselves with a home win,” said Markus Gisdol, coach of Hamburg, who have never been relegated from Germany’s top flight.
It has been nothing short of a disastrous season for 2009 German champions Wolfsburg, who reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2015/16.
“I believe we will get the job done,” said Wolfsburg coach Andries Jonker ahead of the nail-biter at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion.
Tuchel’s Dortmund bow?
Borussia Dortmund’s home match against Bremen could be head coach Thomas Tuchel’s final league match in charge.
The 43-year-old is at odds with Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Tuchel had claimed he was not consulted about whether last month’s Champions League quarter-final home leg against Monaco should be played 24 hours after a bomb attack on the team bus.
Not true, said Watzke.
Tuchel has a year left on his contract but says Watzke’s comments means it would be “naive” to assume he will be head coach next season.
Lucien Favre, in charge of French side Nice, has reportedly been lined up to replace Tuchel, who has in turn been linked to the vacant job at Bayer Leverkusen.
Watzke has denied having already organised Tuchel’s successor.
“We will sit down after the season and discuss, looking forward, how things will go. If we had another coach in place, why would we do that?” he said.
There is also plenty of speculation about the future of Dortmund striker Aubameyang and his club want to know his future plans after Saturday’s match.
The Gabon star has a Dortmund contract until 2020, but has recently been linked to big-money offers from China’s Tianjin Quanjian and Paris Saint Germain.
“We will have talks in the next few weeks,” director of sport Michael Zorc told Bild on Thursday.
Aubameyang has scored 37 goals in all competitions this season, but in early 2017 he twice hinted that he was considering leaving Dortmund to “take the next step”.