The 2019-20 Bundesliga season is finally on the homeward straight as we enter the business end of the campaign. The runners and riders are jostling for position both at the head of the pack and at the tail end. An intriguing matchday 30 awaits, so here are five questions that will soon be answered.
Will Leverkusen delay Bayern’s title coronation?
After overcoming Borussia Dortmund in der Klassiker the road is now free for Bayern Munich to claim their eighth Bundesliga title in a row. It is really a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’ the Bavarians get to raise the Meisterschale (while socially distancing of course).
This weekend sees them travel to Leverkusen to face a side still in contention for a Champions League top four finish this season and therefore with everything to play for. They are currently level on points with Borussia Mönchengladbach, who face Freiburg on Friday. By the time, the Werkself run out at the Bay Arena on Saturday, they will know the true importance of the three points at stake.
Leverkusen handed Bayern coach Hansi Flick his first defeat back in November when two Leon Bailey goals secured a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena. A win for Peter Bosz’s side would make it three in a row in the Bundesliga after they also won last season’s home fixture 3-1.
Will the tide finally turn for sorry Schalke?
For Schalke and their coach David Wagner, the end of the season cannot come soon enough. The misery that has become their Rückrunde just seems to go on and on, with their winless streak now extending to 11 matches.
Union Berlin are their opponents this weekend and with die Eisernen still not mathematically safe from relegation, the hosts will be fighting desperately for the points and should prove a stern test for a very fragile Schalke side.
Life isn’t getting any easier for trainer David Wagner though. After losing Suat Serdar through injury, he now has to do without influential midfielder Weston McKennie, who sits out Sunday’s game through suspension.
The Königsblauen needed a late winner from Serdar in the reverse fixture back in November to seal a 2-1 victory.
Is the Labbadia bubble about to burst?
It would seem that everything Bruno Labbadia touches right now turns to gold, but his Midas touch will get a severe test this weekend when he faces Borussia Dortmund.
After four wins and a draw (against RB Leipzig) the mood at the Olympiastadion is definitely on a high right now. The late game on Saturday at the Signal Iduna Park however sees die Alte Dame up against BVB, who have hit 12 goals in their four games since the restart and whose only slip was against Bayern.
“We know that we are up against a top-quality team, one with exceptional talent” Labbadia said this week. “Lucien Favre is doing a good job. But of course, we want to continue our run of good form in Dortmund as well. I hope that the team continues to play the way they have been – with the same shape and desire we’ve shown, and with passion and heart.”
Matheus Cunha and Marvin Plattenhardt will still be missing, while Dortmund will be without the suspended Mats Hummels and possibly the injured Erling Haaland.
Is this the last-chance saloon for Werder Bremen?
There had been the first shoots of recovery for Werder after wins over Freiburg and Schalke, but the rot returned in their midweek clash with Eintracht Frankfurt. Another insipid display saw their heads drop and the pressure will crank up this weekend when they face Wolfsburg.
The loss to Frankfurt was described as ‘a setback, not a knock-out’, but another heavy blow delivered by Wolfsburg this weekend could have Bremen seriously in trouble on the ropes. The Grün-Weißen did win the reverse fixture 3-2 back in November.
Die Wölfe themselves will be fighting for the points as they seek to confirm their European qualification for next season.
Are Wolfsburg or Hoffenheim in pole position for the Europa League?
The race for sixth is on. With just five games left Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim are level on points (42) but the former has a much healthier goal difference (+13). This weekend sees Wolfsburg travel to Bremen, while the Breisgauer are away at Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Oliver Glasner’s side lost last time out to Eintracht Frankfurt, while Hoffenheim beat Mainz 1-0 to make it two wins on the trot. Speaking ahead of this weekend, coach Oliver Schreuder said: “The team doesn’t let itself get distracted, whether they have won or lost. We analyse the matches and then speak with the lads about it. The wins have given the lads more confidence. But we’re not playing VfL Wolfsburg, our rivals for Europe, on Saturday; we’re playing Fortuna Düsseldorf.”
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