We have reached the final matchday of the 2022-23 Bundesliga season and unusually nothing is yet decided at either end of the table. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are still locked in a head-to-head battle for the Meisterschale, the European places are still up for grabs, while the relegation battle could take another twist this weekend. Here’s what the weekend has in store…
Borussia Dortmund v Mainz
One game! Borussia Dortmund are just one game away from being crowned Bundesliga champions for the first time since 2012. Bayern’s loss to RB Leipzig last week combined with BVB’s win at Augsburg saw the Schwarzgelben leapfrog the Bavarians in the table and they now have a two-point advantage going into the final weekend.
Dortmund will have a sold-out and hugely expectant Signal Iduna Park cheering them on and just have to beat Mainz or at least match Bayern’s result at Köln. The Nullfünfer have seen their dreams of European qualification evaporate over the past weeks. Since beating Bayern they have four on the trot and conceded thirteen goals.
RB Leipzig v Schalke
Leipzig’s first-ever win at the Allianz Arena last weekend secured their Champions League place for next season. The win last week was their eighth in the last nine matches with the only blip on their record a very close match with Bayer Leverkusen. They haver the DFB Pokal next up on their radar, but first will want to end keep their winning run going at home to Schalke.
The Königsblauen know that only a win will do as they look to escape the drop zone. A point would see them definitely in the bottom three, while a win would rely on Bochum and Stuttgart above them dropping points. It’s looking dicey for Thomas Reis’ side, but while the door remains slightly ajar, they will keep fighting.
Union Berlin v Werder Bremen
This weekend could be make-or-break for die Eisernen as they look to secure a top-four finish and qualify for the Champions League. They are involved in a Fernduel with Freiburg, with both sides on 59 points. Union’s goal difference is currently four better than Freiburg’s so in theory all they have to do is match whatever result the Breisgauer get in Frankfurt. Urs Fischer’s side however will be going for the win at home to Werder to put a first-ever Champions League appearance firmly in their own control.
Werder are safe, but will want to defend 12th place. A loss could see them drop below both Hoffenheim and Augsburg (should they both win) and that would take a little of the sheen off the Grün-Weißen’s achievements this season.
Köln v Bayern Munich
Bayern are in the very uncomfortable position of going into the last game of the season with the Bundesliga title out of their control and the real danger of finishing the season empty handed becoming a reality. They simply must win at Köln and pray that Mainz can upset the Dortmund party at the Signal Iduna Park. No doubt the Köln fans will be cheering any ‘good’ news they hear from Dortmund meaning it could be an awkward afternoon for the Rekordmeister.
The Billy Goats will bid farewell to club legend Jonas Hector as he retires and what better way to send him off than with a win over Bayern at the Rhein Energie Stadion. This could also be the last game for Ellyes Skhiri, but don’t expect the Tunisian to be taking it easy- no doubt he will lead the way in terms of distance covered for one last time.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Augsburg
Until Augsburg get the point they require to stay up, nerves will be jangling amongst fans of the Fuggerstädter. They will have all eyes on the clash with Gladbach, but all ears on the results coming in from Bochum and Stuttgart’s matches. With only one win in their last seven (v Union) and four defeats, Enrico Maaßen’s side are really struggling to get over the line and will need a big performance at the Borussia Park.
The Foals will be looking to end the season on a high by leapfrogging local rivals Köln into tenth place. There are a host of players saying goodbye this weekend with club Lars Stindl sure to get an emotional send-off. Whether this also proves to be the last game under coach Daniel Farke remains to be seen, but a win would at least see everyone go out on a high.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Freiburg
Freiburg are fighting for the top four, while Frankfurt still have a miniscule chance of top six, so we could be in for a very tense match on Saturday as the two meet at the Deutsche Bank Park. The Adler’s best chance of Europe next season is by winning the DFB Pokal, but an in-form Leipzig will be no pushover. They will at least want to go into the final on the back of a win.
Christian Streich needs to call-up one final performance from his side in order to pip Union to the post and win the Golden Ticket of Champions League football next season. To even be talking about fifth as a disappointment for Freiburg just goes to show what a terrific season they have had this year.
VfL Wolfsburg v Hertha Berlin
Two defeats in their last three games have hurt Wolfsburg’s chances of a top six finish, but they still have the opportunity to take sixth place from Bayer Leverkusen as the Werkself are only one point ahead going into the final matchday.
With Hertha’s relegation confirmed last week, it would seem difficult to imagine them summoning up much enthusiasm for the final trip to the Volkswagen Arena and much like the story of Red Riding Hood, the wolf will be licking it’s lips in anticipation of feasting on the Old Lady. How did that story end though?
VfL Bochum v Bayer Leverkusen
Bochum’s inferior goal difference to Stuttgart means that a draw at home to Leverkusen could potentially not be enough and even a win will need results elsewhere to go in their favour. The situation is pretty grim for the Ruhr side, but all hope is not lost and there are sure to be plenty of twists and turns as the afternoon unfolds on Saturday. They have a home game, so they at least will have their 12th man of the Vonovia Ruhrstadion to call upon.
Leverkusen themselves are looking to stave off Wolfsburg’s challenge for sixth and after the disappointment of the Europa League semi-final will want to end the season with a bang not a whimper.
VfB Stuttgart v Hoffenheim
This could have been a massive relegation humdinger, but Hoffenheim clinched their own survival with their 4-2 win over Union Berlin last week, so it is just the Swabians fighting for survival. Currently out of the bottom three on goal difference alone, Sebastian Hoeneß just needs one more big performance from his side at the Mercedes Benz Arena this weekend. There are so many permutations that could see Stuttgart go down, but they know that with three points they will make it through to another season regardless of results elsewhere.
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