Christian Pulisic ended his Borussia Dortmund career with a win and an assist, but it was not quite enough for him to leave Germany as a Bundesliga champion.
Pulisic and Dortmund went into the final day of the German season knowing they needed to win and hope Bayern Munich lost to end their rivals’ stranglehold on the title and deny them a seventh consecutive championship.
Both sides faced tough away matches. Borussia Dortmund travelled to a Borussia Monchengladbach team needing a win to hold on to fourth in the table and a place in next season’s Champions League, while Bayern’s opponents Eintrach Frankfurt, who Chelsea beat on penalties in the Europa League semi-finals, also needed a win to guarantee European qualification.
The defending champions looked a strong bet for another title when they took the lead in the first half, but Dortmund’s hopes were raised either side of half time. First Borussia went 1-0 up through Jadon Sancho right at the end of the first period, and then Monchengladbach equalised from a corner early in the second half.
That prompted a flurry of goals in both matches, with Sebastien Haller’s strike in Frankfurt the first of four in eight minutes. One was created by Pulisic, who latched on to Sancho’s pass and drilled an excellent low cross into the box, leaving Marco Reus a simple finish from close range to put Dortmund two ahead but unfortunately for his side, the other two came from Bayern players as they retook the lead and went 3-1 up.
Franck Ribery and former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben then marked their last appearances for Bayern with a goal each to make it five and virtually guarantee the Munich club would end the day as champions again, whatever Pulisic and Dortmund could do.
However, the American can leave Germany for west London with his head held high, knowing he helped Dortmund take the title fight all the way to the last day of the season and came within two points of ending Bayern’s domination of the Bundesliga.
For the record, our recent Europa League opponents Eintracht Frankfurt finish seventh in the table. They will play a Europa League qualifying round.