So we reach the antepenultimate round of Bundesliga matches this season and there is still all to play for at both ends of the table. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are still locked in a fierce title race while those at the bottom end all still have hopes of survival. So, what does matchday 32 have in store for us?
Köln v Hertha Berlin (Friday)
The Billy Goats are in Friday action for a second week running and will want to see a repeat of the three points they picked up last week at local rivals Bayer Leverkusen. Two goals from Davie Selke saw them triumph at the Bay Arena and this Friday sees them hosting bottom side Hertha.
The capital club won last weekend against fellow strugglers VfB Stuttgart to keep their slim hopes of survival alive and another winning performance will be needed when they travel west to the Rhein-Energie Stadion.
The home fans will want to see a win to celebrate Steffen Baumgart’s new contract as well as Jonas Hector’s penultimate game in front of the passionate Domstadt faithful.
Bayern Munich v Schalke
Two teams with polar opposite ambitions meet at the Allianz Arena as title chasing Bayern host relegation fighting Schalke. The Bavarians have picked up back-to-back wins over Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen to maintain their one-point lead over Dortmund, but they have been far from vintage Bayern in either fixture are seemingly crawling to the title, rather than going full throttle like BVB.
The Königsblauen also surprisingly have back-to-back victories under their belt after last week’s 112th penalty winner against Mainz. Thomas Reis’ side have scrapped their way to 15th and have a two-point cushion over both VfB Stuttgart and VfL Bochum.
Their last two visits to the Allianz Arena brought 8-0 and 5-0 defeats and their last win was way back in 2009 (their last point achieved was 2017). It will be a massive ask for Schalke, but in their current lucky streak- anything seems possible. It would however be highly ironic if they were to do their arch-rivals Dortmund a favour in the title race.
Union Berlin v Freiburg
This really could be a winner takes all encounter in pursuit of a Champions League place with Union and Freiburg in a head-to-head battle to clinch a top four spot. Both sides lost last weekend, but are level on points with 56 with RB Leipzig one ahead in third.
A win for either side would give them a distinct advantage going into the final two rounds of matches and bring the dream of a first-ever foray into the Champions League a step closer. Freiburg won the reverse fixture 4-1 back in November, so know what it takes to beat die Eisernen, but Christian Streich’s side have to show a reaction after back-to-back losses to Leipzig.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz
The news that Oliver Glasner is leaving at the season’s end may either come as a relief to Eintracht Frankfurt and release them from the pressure of uncertainty, or it add to their woes. With their European hopes fading this could be their final chance to make a late dash for the top seven, although the Pokal final looks their best bet for a route into Europe.
Mainz’s loss to Schalke last weekend was their second on the trot after previously going down at Wolfsburg. Their own charge for a European place has been halted and reboot is necessary in order for the Nullfünfer to finish the season on a high.
VfL Wolfsburg v Hoffenheim
Europe was seen as the target for Wolfsburg, but then last weekend’s display against Borussia Dortmund was far from what was required of a top six side. The trouncing at the Signal Iduna Park leaves Niko Kovac’s side seventh, but those around them also losing last weekend all is not lost.
They are two points behind Leverkusen, who they will hope are distracted by their European adventure. Die Wölfe face a Hoffenheim side blowing hot and cold at the moment. Just when they look safe from the drop, a defeat comes along to throw them back into the mix. A win last week against Frankfurt came after two losses and the Sinsheimer will want to blow hot rather than cold again this weekend.
VFL Bochum v Augsburg
A win for Augsburg would probably put all fears of a possible relegation place to bed and allow them to finish the season free of worry. Last week’s win over Union was a big boost after going seven games without a win, but they face a stiff challenge of their travels this weekend when they go to a Bochum side equally desperate for the points.
Thomas Letsch’s side find themselves back in the bottom two following their defeat last week at Borussia Mönchengladbach. They are going to need to summon up a performance akin to the one they found against Dortmund two weeks ago if they are to get the better of Augsburg. With both Stuttgart and Schalke still within touching distance a win is a must this weekend for the Ruhr side.
Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Mönchengladbach
BVB are back at the Signal Iduna Park again this weekend looking for a repeat performance from last week when they produced a dazzling display of attacking football to trounce Wolfsburg 6-0. The Schwarzgelben need to keep winning in order to be in a place to capitalise on any slip up from Bayern whose one-point advantage still holds sway. Donyell Malen and Karim Adeyemi continue to shine, while Jude Bellingham looks to be fully focussed despite all the background noise surrounding a potential summer exit to Real Madrid.
The Foals are firmly ensconced in midtable (10th) and come off a win last week over Bochum. A determined and energised Dortmund however will provide a much sterner test for Daniel Farke’s side, who while under-achieving this season, still have the quality to get a result at Dortmund if everything clicks for them.
VfB Stuttgart v Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday)
Last week’s limp display at the Olympiastadion was not what new coach Sebastian Hoeneß had been used to seeing from his side as all the old weaknesses came to the fore in a loss to the bottom side. The Swabians are only out of the bottom two on goal difference over Bochum and could sink back into an automatic relegation spot with anything less than a win on Sunday.
Leverkusen will go into the match just three days after their tip to Rome for their Europa League semi-final, and much will depend on the mood carried forward from that result and any fatigue that will result.
RB Leipzig v Werder Bremen (Sunday)
Leipzig look to be well and truly over their post-Champions League slump and climbed up to third last weekend with their win over Freiburg. Dani Olmo and Christopher Nkunku returning has given them a huge boost and the signs are that the Roten Bullen could be finishing the season on a high with Champions League qualification and a second successive Pokal final to look forward to. A win would also set them up nicely for next week’s trip to face Bayern.
Werder put up a fantastic defensive performance at home to the champions last week and caused a few worries in attack themselves. If Niclas Füllkrug had been fit perhaps they could have hurt Bayern more, but they left with a huge amount of self-confidence. They face a tough task at the Red Bull Arena this weekend with Füllkrug’s fitness perhaps key.
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