We’ve reached the penultimate 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 33 means for the basement battlers.
18th Hertha Berlin (25pts)
This could be the weekend when Hertha are finally put out of their misery and the much-feared relegation is finally confirmed. The Alte Dame’s defeat at Köln last week took their survival out of their own hands and even if they win their last two games (starting with Bochum this weekend), they will be reliant on results elsewhere going their way.
Anything other than three points at the Olympiastadion will see them down, but they face a Bochum side themselves battling for survival. A final hurrah in their last home match, while a tiny positive, won’t be enough to ultimately avoid the inevitable drop into the 2.Bundesliga.
Remaining fixture: VfL Wolfsburg (a)
17th VfB Stuttgart (29pts)
Last week’s home draw with Bayer Leverkusen was a huge opportunity missed for Stuttgart as the Werkself were clearly fatigued from their Europa League trip to Rome and looked there for the taking if only the Swabians had gone for it and exerted the required pressure.
Sebastian Hoeneß now has to inspire his team as they travel to face Mainz. The Nullfünfer have lost their last three matches so will be desperate to end their home campaign on a high and with Wolfsburg losing at Freiburg, they are still in with an outside chance of European qualification.
Their relegation could be confirmed if they lose and both Schalke and Bochum manage to win. A point could see them up to 16th whereas a win could potentially see them out of the bottom three. Playing on Sunday, they will know exactly what is required of them.
Remaining fixture: Hoffenheim (h)
16th Schalke (30pts)
Losing to Bayern last weekend was probably taken as a given by Schalke with all eyes realistically on this final home fixture as their main focus. They have won their last two at the Veltins Arena and will once again look to draw on the passionate home support for inspiration. Frankfurt will provide a stiff challenge, but much depends on which Eintracht turns up- the one that has been in freefall or the one that looked much freer last week against Mainz and is gearing up for the DFB Pokal final.
The worst case scenario this weekend would see the Königsblauen drop back into the bottom two and impelled to win at Leipzig on the final day to survive. At best they could climb to 14th and give themselves a fighting chance.
Remaining fixture: RB Leipzig (a)
15th VfL Bochum (31pts)
Bochum’s 3-2 win over Augsburg last week kept them just outside the bottom three, but there is still no room yet to start relaxing and a huge game awaits them this weekend when they travel to the capital to face Hertha. Despite their perilous position, the home side will be fighting and Thomas Letsch’s side will have to dig deep to come away with the valuable points they need.
The Ruhr side could in theory drop into the bottom two with a defeat, whereas a win could seem them put daylight between themselves and Schalke and Stuttgart. The drop seemed inevitable in the Hinrunde, but hope springs eternal amongst Bochum fans that survival can still be achieved.
Remaining fixture: Bayer Leverkusen (h)
14th Hoffenheim (32pts)
Hoffenheim just need to get over the line and confirm their safety, but the visit of Union Berlin is not going to give them an easy ride and the finger nails at the PreZero Arena could be well and truly bitten down before the afternoon is over on Saturday. Union are under pressure from Freiburg for a top four finish and the dream of Champions League football next season.
In theory TSG could drop into the bottom three with a defeat, whereas their survival could be confirmed with a win. There are still so many intriguing permutations this season.
Remaining fixture: VfB Stuttgart (a)
13th Augsburg (34pts)
Augsburg just need the points to mathematically confirm their survival, but face a Dortmund side this weekend who will be hell bent on taking the title race to the wire. Facing his former side under these circumstances is far from the ideal situation for Enrico Maaßen and it could well be that the Fuggerstädter aren’t fully safe until next weekend.
Remaining fixture: Borussia Mönchengladbach (a)