In Germany, most football fans enjoy a love-hate relationship with Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. And yet when their coach Louis van Gaal, not a man known for showing his emotions, got a litre of beer poured over his head, described himself as a "party animal" and danced alongside his players in a night club until the wee hours, the country could not suppress a smile.
Bayern have gone up in many people's estimations thanks in no small part to their Dutch coach. Germany's most famous club were good value for their 22nd Bundesliga title, playing a brand of exciting attacking football allied to some real tactical maturity. Their dream of a treble is also very much alive, with the finals of the German Cup and the UEFA Champions League coming up over the next two weeks. And to think that success on this kind of level seemed nothing but a pipe dream at the end of the failed Jurgen Klinsmann era.
Bayern and Schalke have qualified directly for next season's Champions League, though third-placed Werder Bremen will have to go through the qualifying round. Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart, meanwhile, will be taking part in the UEFA Europa League.
Hertha Berlin and Bochum found themselves at the other end of the scale in the relegation spots, and their places in the top flight will be taken by former big guns Kaiserslautern and St. Pauli, a Hamburg-based team with a cult following. Another famous name of German football is also under threat of relegation, with Nuremberg facing a play-off with Augsburg, who finished third in the second division.
Here are the ten "chapters" which in FIFA.com's view tell the full story of the 2009/10 Bundesliga season.
Flair from across the border
"The players believed in me right from day one, and that in my book is one of the best things that a coach can possibly have," said Van Gaal. Bayern had decided that the future was Oranje, and it brought them instant success. This was the first time that the Bundesliga had been won by a Dutch coach, captain Mark van Bommel was a driving force on the pitch and in the dressing room and Arjen Robben's 16 goals in 24 matches made all the difference to the final league placings.
Hamburg however were left to rue their lack of Dutch courage. With former coaches Huub Stevens and Martin Jol and star playmaker Rafael van der Vaart all gone, the north German club could only manage seventh place, costing coach Bruno Labbadia his job. Goals from legendary Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy were not enough, and Hamburg will have to make do without European football next term.
Swiss doesn't miss
Felix Magath almost managed to pull off a sensational double. After steering Wolfsburg to a surprise Bundesliga trophy last season, he was still in the running for the league title with a few games to go this time around, at the helm of his new team Schalke. His team of up-and-coming youngsters eventually had to settle for second place, but this new generation of royal blues will definitely be a force over the coming years.
The players believed in me right from day one, and that in my book is one of the best things that a coach can possibly have.
After all this talk of Dutch masters, there was another coach who certainly earned his corn in 2009/10 and who came not from north, but south of the border. Christian Gross took over the reins at Stuttgart shortly before Christmas and with a run of 39 points in 17 matches, turned a relegation battle into a surge towards the European slots. Stuttgart ended up with the best record in the second half of the season and squeezed into the Europa League. "I'm very focused on targets," the Swiss supremo said. "It's one of the most important things in life."
Style and substance
After 24 matches they were unbeaten at the top of the table, and although they then went on to concede four defeats and slip to fourth overall, Bayer Leverkusen still managed to leave their mark on the season. Striker Stefan Kiessling scored goals for fun and ended up just one short of being the Bundesliga's leading marksman, with Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko (22 goals) taking that honour. They also took rising star Toni Kroos on loan and gave the great hope of the next generation of German football a showcase for his talents. The midfielder repaid them with nine goals and 12 assists, and will no doubt be knocking on Van Gaal's door back at his parent club Bayern next season.
Germany certainly seems to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to attacking midfielders, as Werder Bremen illustrated. Mesut Ozil and Marko Marin erased memories of departed playmaker Diego and propelled the second-most successful club in Bundesliga history to third place in the league. Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro made the most of the service from the dynamic young duo, bagging 16 goals and taking his overall tally to 133 - thus overtaking Brazilian Giovane Elber as the most successful foreign striker in the Bundesliga annals.
Tears of defeat and mourning
It is rare for a capital city not to have a team in the top flight, but this is the fate which Berlin will have to deal with next season. Fans and pundits alike are at as loss to explain how Hertha managed to come rock bottom only 12 months after challenging for the title, but the departure of stars such as Marko Pantelic, Andriy Voronin and Josip Simunic certainly had an effect. Immediate promotion back into the first division is the obvious priority, but that is obviously easier said than done.
Though relegation might seem like the end of the world to some fans, there was a tragic reminder that football at the end of the day is only a game. Hanover 96 experienced the worst season in their history, with a shocked team going 12 matches without a win whilst trying to come to terms with the suicide of goalkeeper and captain Robert Enke in mid-November.
In a dramatic turnaround, they then managed to battle their way to safety on the final day. Tears of joy at avoiding relegation mixed with ones of sorrow after the final whistle as players and supporters alike battled with a sea of mixed emotions. "We were all obviously still thinking about Robert," said 23-year-old Florian Fromlowitz, the man who took over from Enke between the posts for Hanover. "We're men, not machines, and the emotions are all pouring out now."