Bayern Munich’s run of Bundesliga titles came to an end as Matthias Sammer’s Borussia Dortmund unseated their rivals at the top of the table. Sammer had done well in his first season at Dortmund, but was even better in the second, adding another Bundesliga medal to the three he had won as a player.
The title race was a three-horse race right until the end of the season, with Dortmund finishing just a point clear of Bayer Leverkusen and two ahead of Bayern.
Hertha Berlin and Schalke were seven points further back, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, with Werder Bremen also joining them in the top six.
Sammer continued to shape Borussia Dortmund the way he wanted, and broke the Bundesliga transfer record by spending 50 million DM on Brazilian striker Mario Amoroso from Parma. The forward proved an instant hit, finishing the season as joint top scorer.
As part of the deal, Evanilson was sold to Parma for 34m DM, but then was immediately loaned back to Dortmund, while defensive midfielder Sebastian Kehl came in from Freiburg.
Werder Bremen top scorer Claudio Pizarro moved to Bayern Munich for 16m DM, with Robert Kovac also arriving in Munich, for almost 17m DM from Bayer Leverkusen. Having won the league with the last kick of the season in the previous campaign, Patrik Andersson exited Bayern for Barcelona.
Goalscoring goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt joined Leverkusen on a free transfer from Hamburg and finished the season with two goals in the league - both from the penalty spot. Leverkusen’s biggest outlay was 12m DM on full-back Zoltan Sebescen, who became a key player under head coach Klaus Toppmoller.
Bayer Leverkusen continued their tradition of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride as they failed to capitalise on Bayern Munich slipping up. Having won the league for three years-in-a-row, Bayern ended up in third place, but Leverkusen were this time second-best to Borussia Dortmund.
With three games to go, B04 led the league by five points but successive losses to Werder Bremen and Nurnberg handed the title to Borussia Dortmund. Matthias Sammer’s side took over top spot after the second last game, beating Hamburg 4-3 in a thrilling game.
A win on the final day would be enough for Dortmund to win the league, and they did exactly that, with a 2-1 victory against Bremen. Leverkusen’s season suffered even more disappointment as they lost 4-2 in the DFB-Pokal final and then 2-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Kaiserslautern had a brilliant start to the season, winning all seven of their opening games, but quickly faded to finish outside the top six, missing out on the Champions League and UEFA Cup in the process.
Relegation was decided before the final day of the season as Freiburg, Cologne, and St Pauli all went down without much of a fight.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Amoroso broke the German transfer record, but proved value for money at Borussia Dortmund, finishing as joint top scorer in his first season with the club. His goals were exactly what BVB needed to topple Bayern Munich at the top of German football.
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
In only his second season as a head coach, Sammer continued to be a footballing icon. The former Ballon d’Or winner added his first honours as a manager with the Bundesliga title, and also helped Borussia Dortmund to the UEFA Cup final.
MARCIO AMOROSO, MARTIN MAX - 18 GOALS
1860 Munich’s Martin Max finished as the Bundesliga’s top scorer for the second time in three seasons, but had to share the trophy with league newcomer Marcio Amoroso, with both players finishing on 18 goals.
TEAM OF THE SEASON
LEHMANN; LUCIO, NOWOTNY, WORNS; SCHNEIDER, ROSICKY, BALLACK, FRINGS, ZE ROBERTO; AMOROSO, KLOSE
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Parma to DORTMUND
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON
On Matchday 33, Nurnberg shocked German football by beating league leaders Bayer Leverkusen 1-0. Leverkusen had slipped up in their previous game against European hopefuls Werder Bremen, but were expected to bounce back with a win over Nurnberg. Instead, the Bavarian side pulled off an upset, guaranteeing their own safety while handing top spot to Borussia Dortmund.