Opinion: The exciting season the Bundesliga needed

The Bundesliga season is over, and although Bayern Munich have won the title for the seventh consecutive time, DW's Jonathan Harding thinks this has still been a season for the ages.

It took until the last 30 minutes of the final game of the season to know who was going to win the Bundesliga title. Much like Borussia Dortmund's dramatic and exhilarating 3-2 win over Bayern in November last year was exactly the game the league needed, this season delivered almost everything right when it needed to. Granted, some might have hoped for a different winner than the last six years but the drama and the stories that the 2018-19 Bundesliga campaign delivered were exciting. It was, quite simply, a thrilling season.

Borussia Dortmund played better than many expected, while Bayern Munich played worse. The combination of the two made for a thrilling title race. Dortmund raced clear, Bayern hauled them in. Whenever that wonderful Bundesliga trophy, the salad bowl, came within touching distance, the pressure got too great. Either the young side buckled or the young head coach over thought it. Everything about this title race has been dramatic. Bayern Munich's extraordinary press conference, the arrival of Jadon Sancho's electric performance, the pair's inexplicably poor results against the bottom four clubs. There have been endless plotlines and dramatic episodes, and while there is always a story to be found in every season, the backdrop of a title raced undoubtedly enhances the drama of it all.

DW's Jonathan Harding

It has been quite the season for the Bundesliga too. Florian Kohfeldt, coach of the year, took Werder Bremen on an endearing charge up the table that narrowly fell short of a European spot. Newly-promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf put in a strong claim for surprise of the season with a midtable finish, while Sandro Schwarz made Mainz the hardest side to predict. Books will be written about the magic that Christian Streich continues to cast in Freiburg. How they avoided the drop again is beyond logic. Schalke's season read like a great Shakespearian tragedy, save for the darkest of finishes. Then there was Frankfurt and Adi Hütter, whose European adventure perhaps laid shadow to what was a really impressive league campaign - one that only just finished in a European spot after a thrilling race to finish in the top seven on the final day that saw Wolfsburg put eight past Augsburg.

Speaking of goals, remember when Dortmund put seven past Nuremberg, or when Luka Jovic scored five against Fortuna? That Dodi Lukebakio hat trick in Munich, Mainz scoring five against Freiburg having had five shots on target and just 33 percent of the ball. The VAR decisions enraged, particularly how offside is offside and what is a handball? The end of the 'Robbery' era, the shots off the woodwork, the comebacks, Claudio Pizarro's seemingly immortal talent (he even scored the winner against RB Leipzig on the final day) - it was all there.

After Bayern's seventh consecutive title win, there will be conversations about the health of this league. The question will once again ring around the timelines of social media platforms: how competitive is the Bundesliga? That is a question for another day. Today was about recognizing just how exciting, how fun this season has been. Quite frankly, there's not much more you can ask for than that.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 6: Hertha Berlin 2-0 Bayern Munich

After both went unbeaten in their opening five games,Niko Kovac's return to his hometown, Berlin, proved unpleasant as Hertha handed him a first defeat as head coach. Bayern mustered 24 shots on goal, but only forced Thomas Kraft into three saves in what was their first loss in eight years during the Oktoberfest season. Making matters worse for Kovac, BVB won in Leverkusen to go top of the table.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 7: Borussia Dortmund 4-3 Augsburg

Looking to capitalize the week after, BVB had to survive a seven-goal thriller against Augsburg. After twice coming from behind, the hosts led 3-2 before Michael Gregoritsch's 87th-minute equalizer set up a stunning finale as second-half substitute Paco Alcacer completed his hat trick with a 96th-minute free-kick to clinch a victory that was made all the sweeter by Bayern's defeat to Gladbach.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 11: Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Bayern Munich

In Round 1 of Der Klassiker, Bayern led twice, but Robert Lewandowski's brace wasn't enough to claim even a share of the spoils as a Marco Reus-inspired BVB turned the game on its head with super-sub Paco Alcacer netting another winner to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Dortmund opened up a seven-point advantage over Bayern, who had now fallen off to fifth place in the table.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 12: Bayern Munich 3-3 Fortuna Düsseldorf

To make matters worse, Bayern let a two-goal lead slip against Düsseldorf the following weekend. The German record titleholders got caught cold by Watford-loanee Dodi Lukebakio's hat trick, the first conceded by Manuel Neuer in his 358th Bundesliga appearance. The 93rd minute equalizer clinched Fortuna's first win in Munich since 1996 and saw Bayern fall 9-points adrift of Dortmund.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 16: Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

The newly promoted side ensured there was another twist in the title race tale before the winter break though, as they handed BVB their first loss, ending their longest-running unbeaten start to a season. Lukebakio broke the deadlock before Jean Zimmer scored a screamer and, while Alcacer produced his 10th goal as a super-sub, the result saw Dortmund's lead cut to six by Christmas.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 22: Nuremberg 0-0 Borussia Dortmund

With Marco Reus out injured, Dortmund hit a rough patch in early February that culminated in a run of three straight draws that allowed Bayern to move within three points despite suffering a loss to Leverkusen. The last of these was a painful goalless Monday night encounter in Nuremberg as Christian Mathenia won his 90-minute long battle with a trigger-happy Mario Götze.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 24: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-5 Bayern Munich

Having seen Dortmund lose to Augsburg in the Friday night fixture on Matchday 24, Bayern didn't waste the opportunity to move level on points as they smashed five past Gladbach. At the time it was Bayern's 11th win in 12 with Lewandowski scoring more than once in a single game for the 51st time in his Bundesliga career. However, even a 5-1 win couldn't erase Bayern's goal-difference deficit.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 28: Bayern Munich 5-0 Borussia Dortmund

That changed after a 6-0 win against Wolfsburg, but it wasn't until Round 2 of Der Klassiker that Bayern seized top spot outright and they did it in emphatic fashion. Dortmund mustered just four attempts on goal of which just one found the target and ended up suffering the biggest defeat inflicted on a league leader since Karlsruher SC's 6-1 loss to Leverkusen in August 1997.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 31: Dortmund 2 - 4 Schalke & Nuremberg 1-1 Bayern

The second Revierderby turned out to be a nightmare for BVB. Not only did Marco Reus (11) get sent off, but so did Marius Wolf. Schalke, having their worst season in years, surprised everyone by claiming all three points. But Bayern failed to capitalize, stumbling to a 1-1 draw in Nuremberg. Had Tim Leibold's 92-minute penalty not come back off the post, it could have been even worse for Bayern.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 33: RB Leipzig 0-0 Bayern Munich

Whether Bayern's goalless draw with RB Leipzig will go down as a turning point depends on what happens on the final day. What is for sure is that the German record titleholders passed up the chance to wrap up the title with a game to spare. Leon Goretzka thought he had scored a second-half winner, only for the tightest offside call of the season to deny Bayern all three points.

Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund: The turning points in a tense Bundesliga title race

Matchday 34: Bayern Munich 5-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

It goes to the final day, with Bayern needing just a point against Niko Kovac's former club to be sure of a seventh straight title - and they did it in style. Departing legends Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben both came off the bench to score the fourth and fifth, respectively, as Bayern crushed Frankfurt. Dortmund win 2-0 in Mönchengladbach but it counts for little in the end. Bayern are champions.