Opinion: Bundesliga title race better than Premier League's

With three of the big five leagues won, only the English and German champions remain unknown. DW's Matt Pearson says the twists and turns at the Bundesliga summit make it more exciting than the Premier League race.

At 16:37 on Saturday, Borussia Dortmund's Marwin Hitz thought he'd let the Bundesliga title slip through his fingers. The backup keeper, making only his second league appearance of the season, allowed Oliver Fink's tame header to squirm through his grasp and hand Fortuna Düsseldorf a second-half equalizer at Signal Iduna Park.

At 16:40 his mistake looked as if it may turn out to be irrelevant after Leon Goretzka gave Bayern Munich the lead nearly 440 kilometers (265 miles) east in Leipzig. Three minutes later, Hitz was off the hook after Goretzka's goal was ruled out for the most fractional of offsides in the buildup while Thomas Delaney simultaneously restored Dortmund's lead. Then Hitz gave away a penalty and the hook was back in. Dodi Lukebakio scuffed it wide, the Swiss stopper wriggled free again. Bayern never found the breakthrough.

That 10 minutes of gaffes, goals, chaos and controversy was the Bundesliga title race in a microcosm. Thrilling, unpredictable, error strewn, nervy and fun, for the neutral anyway. Dortmund are a team packed with talent but prone to panic while Bayern are a hulking, creaking machine hoping a bit of oil will allow them to make it through to the next big service, where some major cogs will be replaced.

German pair Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gündogan could win the title with City on Sunday

In contrast, the two sides that will do battle for the Premier League title on Sunday are an object study in the near-elimination of flaws. The UAE-backed Manchester City 'project' has handed one of the world's best coaches several of the world's best players. Predictably brilliant domestic results have followed. A point below them, Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool have spent about €150 million ($169m) on Virgil van Dijk and Alisson in the last 18 months to fix the defensive issues that once undermined them.

The overwhelming expectation is that Pep Guardiola's City side will, sooner or later, overwhelm Brighton on Sunday, rendering Liverpool's likely home win over Wolves meaningless. The top two in England have won 81 percent of their games this season, compared to the German pair's 68 percent. Since City last failed to win, Dortmund have dropped 17 points. If the Champions League wasn't proof enough, there's no comparison in quality.

DW's Matt Pearson

But quality isn't always what matters. Where the Premier League title tussle has been like a carefully-crafted, exquisitely-sourced gourmet meal in the fanciest restaurant in town, the Bundesliga's been the unpretentious backstreet cafe with brilliant food, spectacular service, just the right atmosphere and a surprisingly reasonable bill.

Both have their place but, for my money at least, that cafe sounds much more fun. And that's what the Bundesliga has been this term. Sure, Bayern have enjoyed a brilliant and consistent second half of the season while Dortmund enjoyed a great start, but what's made this title race so much fun is the unexpected slip ups: Bayern drawing with doomed Nuremberg after BVB had all but handed them the Meisterschale by losing the derby the day before, both sides dropping points to Augsburg and a healthy smattering of late game implosions and individual errors.

By contrast, though some games have been tougher than others, the late stages of the Premier League race have been a dual procession. In an astonishing display of relentless excellence and mentality, City and Liverpool have both won their last eight games when it matters most. 

Both teams are rightly lauded. Of course, those of us that love football want to see the best. But we also want drama, plot twists, suspense, jeopardy and calamity. Whoever wins the Bundesliga next weekend, we've certainly had that.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Eintracht Frankfurt 0 - 2 Mainz

Anthony Ujah's first brace for more than three years leaves Frankfurt's Champions League hopes in serious jeopardy. The Nigerian struck twice in four second half minutes as Frankfurt's Europa League exertions caught up with them. Ante Rebic missed a golden chance to put the Eagles ahead early on but they must now win in Munich next week and hope results go their way.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

RB Leipzig 0-0 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich missed the chance to win the Bundesliga title on the penultimate day in a tense draw in Leipzig. Robert Lewandowski's toe ruled out Leon Goretzka's goal on a VAR review, excusing Leipzig's one poor moment in defense in the game. Peter Gulacsi made some strong saves to keep Bayern out but the result - combined with Dortmund's win - means the title race will go down to the final day.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Dortmund's title dreams are still alive going into the final day after a nervy win. Christian Pulisic headed BVB into the lead in his final home game for the club, but Marwin Hitz's mistake let Fortuna back in. Thomas Delaney put Dortmund back ahead, then Dodi Lukebakio missed a penalty. Mario Götze scored in injury time, but BVB wobbled before the final whistle.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Schalke

In a dramatic Bundesliga game, Schalke upset the odds a bit and nearly beat European hopefuls Leverkusen. Kai Havertz scored yet again to give the home side a lead, but then Schalke equalized when Guido Burgstaller tucked away a chance just after the break. Daniel Caligiuri missed a penalty soon after and then VAR denied Schalke another spot kick. The result leaves the European race wide open.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Nuremberg 0-4 Gladbach

Nuremberg's Bundesliga relegation was confirmed after a thumping by a Gladbach side desperate to sneak into a Champions League spot. This result pushed them ahead of Leverkusen and put them in a strong position to finish in the top four - if they can beat Dortmund on the final day. Ibrahima Traore impressed, as did Josip Drmic, as Gladbach confirmed Nuremberg's departure from the top flight.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Hanover 3-0 Freiburg

Despite dominating against Freiburg and putting in one of their best performances of the season, Hannover's fate was sealed thanks to a Stuttgart win. Ihlas Bebou scored the goal that ended the contest, adding to Waldemar Anton's first-half header. Walace sent a thundering strike to top off the score. Freiburg managed just one shot on target.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Hoffenheim 0-1 Werder Bremen

Werder's European hopes stayed alive against Hoffenheim who, despite this defeat, still have a chance of qualifying for European football too. An error from Oliver Baumann set up a passage of play that led to Johannes Eggestein scoring. His brother Maximilian added a second minutes later, but a VAR review ruled it out. Hoffenheim were out of luck on the day they bid farewell to Julian Nagelsmann.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Stuttgart 3-0 Wolfsburg

Stuttgart confirmed their spot in the relegation playoff with a comfortable home win against Wolfsburg. Schalke's draw meant Stuttgart can't climb higher, and will leave the side in red and white wondering what might have been had they picked up a few more wins. After all, their final game of the season is against Schalke. Daniel Didavi scored one and assisted another.

Bundesliga roundup: Matchday 33

Augsburg 3-4 Hertha Berlin

In the game of the day that mattered perhaps the least in the context of the rest of the league, seven goals were scored in a thrilling encounter. Augsburg went ahead, Hertha equalized and then the pattern repeated itself again before Michael Gregoritsch edged the hosts 3-2 ahead. Two late strikes from Salomon Kalou though turned the tide to give Hertha the victory.