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German Recap: Inspired Reyna, Dortmund Fall Short in Bundesliga Quest

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Gio Reyna came off the bench to provide a much-needed spark for Borussia Dortmund, but they would come up short as they shared the points with Mainz to gift rivals Bayern Munich the crown on the final day of the Bundesliga season.

Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Mainz

Borussia Dortmund was in the driver’s seat to win their first Bundesliga title since 2011, but Mainz ruined the celebration as they scored two in the first half, leaving their hosts to labor to a heartbreaking draw at Signal Iduna Park.

Gio Reyna came on to play the final 27 minutes and proved to be the spark that Dortmund needed despite the result as he completed 89 percent of his passes, won five duels, and created four chances along with two shots.

The BVB fans had the stadium rocking as they anticipated their team would lift the shield. However, they were also aware that Bayern Munich had the same ambition as they were away to FC Cologne.

The Dortmund players did not want to disappoint and they came firing on all cylinders at the start of the first half. Donyell Malen had an excellent chance to open the scoring when his shot from the edge of the box forced Mainz goalkeeper Finn Dahmen to dive to his left as the ball went just wide of the post.

Bayern had gone up 1-0 in Cologne when the hosts then received a shock in the 15th minute as Andreas Hanche-Olsen scored for Mainz. Edimilson Fernandes sent his corner kick into the area and the Norwegian defender got away from his marker to head the ball home.

BVB was now on the back foot, but not for long as they were rewarded a penalty. Raphael Guerreiro was brought down in the box by a clumsy challenge from Dominik Kohr. The referee did not call it, but the video assistant referee reviewed the infraction, and the decision was reversed.

Sebastian Haller would get the honors to level the score from the spot, but his shot was well saved by Dahmen.

The visitors then made Dortmund pay for missing the penalty at the other end as they doubled their lead in the 24th minute. Lee Jae-Sung’s cross from the left side found Karim Onisiwo in the middle of the box and he thumped his header past goalkeeper Gregor Kobel.

Things were looking bleak for the hosts as every attempt they put on goal in the first half was squandered.

Not much changed as both teams came out for the second half. Dortmund continued to struggle to put away the final ball.

BVB head coach Edin Terzic then went to his bench and elected to bring on Reyna in the 62nd minute to hopefully light a fire under his team as the Bundesliga crown was slowly slipping from their grasp.

The young American did provide a spark as the hosts started to find a rhythm to threaten Mainz’s goal.

The first chance came in the 66th minute, with Reyna challenging Mainz’s defense as he dribbled the ball toward the box. He would play the ball to Youssoufa Moukoko but the German’s shot went wide of the mark.

Dortmund finally got on the scoreboard in the 69th minute thanks to some great link-up play between Reyna and Guerreiro. The 20-year-old passed the ball to his Portuguese teammate at the edge of the area, allowing him to get it back once he entered. Reyna then returned the ball to Guerreiro to unleash a shot that hit the inside of the post before crossing the goal line.

The title race was back in the hands of the hosts as news from Cologne came to say that the score was now 1-1. However, that enjoyment did not last long as Bayern scored to retake the lead. This put Dortmund under intense pressure to score more goals.

With the game entering stoppage time, BVB thought they had leveled the score when Haller struck with an acrobatic kick. However, the linesman would raise his flag for offside.

Niklas Sule grabbed the equalizer for Dortmund in the sixth minute of stoppage time when Reyna headed the ball in his path to take a strike, but it was not enough Bayern Munich was able to hold on to secure their 11th Bundesliga crown and mute the celebrations at Signal Iduna Park.

A disappointing end to an exciting final day as BVB finish the season in second place in the standings with 71 points, losing out on the title on goal differential.

Jahn Regensburg 2-3 Heidenheim

Heidenheim capped off their season with the 2. Bundesliga title and automatic promotion to the top flight with a come-from-behind win over Jahn Regensburg at Jahnstadion Regensburg.

Lennard Maloney started and played 55 minutes in a defensive midfield role, completing 52 percent of his passes and winning six duels.

Heidenheim entered the game in control of their own fate as a win would be enough to give them automatic promotion over third-place Hamburg which was playing away at relegated Sandhausen.

There was not much action in the first half, but the second would provide all the sparks that led to a thrilling finish.

The hosts broke the scoreless deadlock in the 51st minute when Prince Osei Owusu headed in a corner kick from Konrad Faber. Osei Owusu put Heidenheim in a deeper hole five minutes later as he was able to steer a pass from Benedikt Saller home.

Jahn was their own worst enemy in the 58th minute when they gave the visitors a lifeline. Stefan Schimmer’s shot was put across the goal line by Saller.

Hamburg had just wrapped a 1-0 win over Sandhausen and the fans had invaded the field when they were reminded that the game had not ended in Regensburg. There were 11 minutes of stoppage time and Heidenheim needed to make something happen as they faced the possibility of facing Stuttgart in the two-leg playoff.

Jan-Niklas Beste stepped up to convert a penalty to level the score. Then in the dying minutes of the game, the visitors put everything into the attack and saw it pay off as Tim Kleindienst was in the right place to collect the ball that went through a sea of legs before he slammed it home.

A double delight for Heidenheim as they not only earned automatic promotion but also snatched the second-division title from Darmstadt.

Heidenheim finished their season with 67 points, winning the league on goal difference.


Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Paxten Aaronson came on to play 30 minutes while Tim Chandler was on the bench as Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to record a 2-1 win over Freiburg. The team finished the season in seventh place with 50 points. The Eagles will now head to Berlin to face RB Leipzig in the German Cup final.

Jordan Pefok played 12 minutes as Union Berlin booked their spot in next season’s Champions League with a 1-0 win over Werder Bremen. Union takes the fourth position in the standings with 62 points.

John Brooks went the distance for Hoffenheim as they played out a 1-1 draw with Pellegrino Matarazzo’s former team Stuttgart. The Blues successfully avoided relegation as they finished in 12th place in the standings with 36 points.

Kevin Paredes played the final 24 minutes for Wolfsburg in their 2-1 defeat to relegated Hertha Berlin. The Wolves wrapped up their season in eighth place with 49 points.

Joe Scally saw no action for Borussia Monchengladbach they ended the season strong with a 2-0 win over Augsburg. The Foals took 10th position in the standings with 43 points.

In the 2. Bundesliga, Julian Green played 83 minutes and scored a goal while Maximilian Dietz went the distance for Greuther Furth in the team’s 4-0 win over Darmstadt. The Greenclovers finished in 12th place in the standings with 41 points.

Nathaniel Brown played the full 90 for Nurnberg as they avoided relegation with a 1-0 win over Paderborn. The team finished in 14th place with 39 points.

Ryan Malone started and recorded an assist in Hansa Rostock’s 2-1 win over Eintracht Braunschweig. Rostock completed their season in 13th place with 41 points.

Terrence Boyd played 80 minutes as slumping Kaiserslautern were on the losing end of a 3-0 defeat to Fortuna Dusseldorf. The Red Devils finished ninth in the standings with 45 points.

George Bello played 34 minutes for Arminia Bielefeld in their 4-0 loss to Magdeburg. They finished in 16th place in the standings with 34 points. Bielefeld will now go to a playoff against the 3. Liga’s Wehen Wiesbaden.

Down in the 3. Liga, in a battle between Isaiah Young and Mael Corboz, both Rot-Weiss Essen and Verl shared the points following a 2-2 draw. Verl finished in 10th place, while Essen staved off relegation by ending up in 15th place with 42 points.

Jalen Hawkins played 67 minutes for Ingolstadt in their 2-1 loss to champions Elversberg. Die Schanzer end their season in 11th place with 47 points.

Both Johan Gomez and Nicolas Carrera started for Zwickau, with the former scoring a goal, while Mansour Ouro-Tagba had a spot on the bench for 1860 Munich as both teams played out a 2-2 draw. Zwickau has been relegated as they finished in 19th place with 35 points while 1860 Munich ended in a respectable eighth place with 57.

Kevin Lankford came on to play 15 minutes for Vicktoria Cologne in their 2-1 defeat to Saarbrucken. Cologne wrapped up their season in ninth place with 55 points.

Jann George played 37 minutes as Bayreuth bade farewell to the third tier with a 3-3 draw against his former team Erzgebirge Aue. Bayreuth finished at the bottom of the standings with 32 points.

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Kenya Brown

Born in America, but raised in Europe and Asia, Kenya has loved soccer ever since his parents put a ball at his feet. While covering some of the top U.S. players around Europe, he loves putting the spotlight on players who are based in leagues off the beaten path. He also interviews coaches and other people in the game to gain more insight.

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