We reach the antepenultimate game of the Bundesliga season which means it’s squeaky bum time for the teams still fighting for points at the bottom of the table. Time is running out for them to get the valuable wins or draws that will ensure they have another year in the top flight. Here’s what matchday 32 means for the basement battlers.
18th Hertha Berlin (25pts)
Hertha now all-but down after their 5-2 loss at Köln on Friday in the weekend opener. While not mathematically relegated yet, even if they win their last two games, they are going to be heavily reliant on the teams above them failing to pick up points. Against the Billy Goats Pal Dardai’s side did manage to get themselves into a 2-1 lead after going behind, but the usual defensive frailties were no match for an energetic Köln side and if it hadn’t been for keeper Oliver Christensen, the scoreline could have been even worse.
Remaining fixtures: VfL Bochum (h), VfL Wolfsburg (a)
17th VfL Bochum (28pts)
Bochum need to engender the same kind of atmosphere and performance that they brought two weeks ago against Borussia Dortmund when they host Augsburg this weekend. They are level on points with Stuttgart, who play on Sunday, so a win could see them out of the bottom three. They face an Augsburg side also desperate for the points to calm their own relegation fears. It might not be pretty, but the three points on Saturday are all that count for the Ruhr side. Bochum really don’t want to go into their final match with Leverkusen needing to win to stay up.
Remaining fixtures: Hertha Berlin (a), Bayer Leverkusen (h)
16th VfB Stuttgart (28pts)
The Swabians reverted to the pre-Sebastian Hoeneß Stuttgart last week in their loss to Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion. They were poor in almost every department and deservedly lost to the bottom side. A reaction will be needed when they host Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. By then, they will know how the teams around them have done, and will be hoping that the Werkself are suffering fatigue from their midweek Europa League semi-final.
Remaining fixtures: Mainz (a), Hoffenheim (h)
15th Schalke (30pts)
If the ‘Great Escape’ is still going to be on for Schalke then they face ‘Mission Impossible’ this weekend when they travel to the Allianz Arena to face title-chasing Bayern Munich. Two wins on the bounce have been secured by very late winners (Werder and Mainz) so what are the chances of a third? Sane and rational people will give the Königsblauen no chance, but this is the tail end of the Bundesliga season when anything is possible.
Schalke’s last two visits ended with 8-0 and 5-0 drubbings and they haven’t won in Munich since 2009, and their last point achieved came in 2017.
Remaining fixtures: Eintracht Frankfurt (h), RB Leipzig (a)
14th Hoffenheim (32pts)
Last week’s 3-1 win over Frankfurt has given Hoffenheim a two point cushion over Schalke and a four-point advantage over both Bochum and Stuttgart. They travel to Wolfsburg on Saturday looking to extend their safety buffer over the bottom three, but will probably run up against a side with a point to prove. Niko Kovac’s side were thumped last weekend at Dortmund and if they are to keep their European dreams alive, need a win. Should that happen and the teams below TSG win, then things could once again get nervy in Sinsheim.
Remaining fixtures: Union Berlin (h), VfB Stuttgart (a)
13th Augsburg (34pts)
A win this weekend for the Fuggerstädter should end their relegation fears once and for all. They take on Bochum at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion and know that they will be in for a fight with their opposition also in a fight for survival. Last week’s win over Union Berlin will have given the team the belief they can go out and claim a second win in a row.
Remaining fixtures: Borussia Dortmund (h), Borussia Mönchengladbach (a)