The final stretch of the Bundesliga season 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 31 means for the basement battlers.
18th Hertha Berlin (22pts)
The arrival of ‘saviour’ Pal Dardai has not yet yielded the hoped for response from Hertha with the returning legend losing both matches so far. The first half at the Allianz Arena last week saw them frustrate a poor Bayern side, but they were never likely to be able to resist for the whole ninety minutes and so it proved.
Die Alte Dame are five points behind Schalke and six from safety so while the situation is dire, there is still a chance they can fight their way out of trouble, but it is a slim chance. All four remaining games are huge for Hertha, but Saturday’s home clash with Stuttgart is massive bearing in mind they are a team also in the relegation mix.
Remaining fixtures: Köln (a), VfL Bochum (h), VfL Wolfsburg (a)
17th Schalke (27pts)
The Königsblauen’s last two home games have brought victories and vital points, but they need to take the energy they get from the Veltins Arena on their travels to start picking up away points. Last week’s dramatic win over Werder was achieved with a 92nd minute winner after looking dead and buried.
An away trip to Mainz is their task this weekend and with only one away win to their names this season it will be a big ask to repeat last week’s heroics. The Nullfünfer are also looking to bunce back from a rare defeat last weekend to maintain their European hopes.
Of the relegation candidates, Schalke on paper have the potentially most difficult run-in.
Remaining fixtures: Bayern Munich (a), Eintracht Frankfurt (h), RB Leipzig (a)
16th VfL Bochum (28pts)
It may have been referee-assisted but Bochum notched up another point last week at home to Borussia Dortmund and the way they defended and frustrated the Schwarzgelben will give them confidence going into their trip to Mönchengladbach this weekend.
The Foals are safely in midtable and don’t have anything desperate to play for and look a beatable team as Stuttgart demonstrated last week. A win at the Borussia Park could see them out of the bottom three, but a defeat could see them possibly dragged back into the bottom two.
Remaining fixtures: Augsburg (h), Hertha Berlin (a), Bayer Leverkusen (h)
15th VfB Stuttgart (28pts)
Sebastian Hoeneß may have suffered his first defeat as Stuttgart trainer in the DFB Pokal semi-final in midweek, but he remains unbeaten in the Bundesliga and he’ll be looking to maintain that record in the capital this weekend. Hertha are equally desperate for the points so talk of a ‘relegation six-pointer’ is not exaggerated.
The Swabians have shown a lot of fight and character over the past weeks with a late equaliser against Dortmund, a comeback point against Augsburg and a late winner to beat Mönchengladbach last week. They still have hope, but know full well that they are still very much in trouble should results start to go against them.
Remaining fixtures: Bayer Leverkusen (h), Mainz (a), Hoffenheim (h)
14th Hoffenheim (29pts)
After ending their atrocious run with three wins and a draw (v Bayern), Hoffenheim have lost their last two meaning they remain precariously close to the drop zone. Last week’s loss at Leipzig could have been heavier than the 1-0 it was and they need to get off this losing streak pretty damn quickly as we enter the final four games of the season.
The host a Frankfurt side this weekend coming off the high of making it to the DFB Pokal final. Whether that version of the Adler will turn up, or the one that has been slipping down the table with no wins in their last nine Bundesliga outings remains to be seen. Either way TSG need a win.
Remaining fixtures: VfL Wolfsburg (a), Union Berlin (h), VfB Stuttgart (a)
13th Augsburg (31pts)
Augsburg’s winless run extended to seven games last weekend with their point away at Eintracht Frankfurt. The worse-case scenario this weekend is a defeat to Union Berlin sending them level on points with 16th place Bochum and only out of the bottom three on goal difference. A win would ease their worries, but that will be no easy feat against a Union side battling to maintain their top four position.
This really is squeaky bum time for the Fuggerstädter.
Remaining fixtures: VfL Bochum (a), Borussia Dortmund (h), Borussia Mönchengladbach (a)