We’re getting ever closer to the end of the Bundesliga season, but unlike the previous seasons, there is very little to play for in the coming weeks. Bayern is only two wins away from wrapping up their 6th consecutive Bundesliga title, which means they will win it with 6th games to spare. Incredible but that’s not the surprising part. The rest of the league is.
Hamburg and Cologne are all but relegated. Who will occupy the relegation playoff spot still remains a question, but while the race for Champions League and Europa League qualifications remains undecided it, however, is starting to take shape.
Here is the latest installment of our predictions:
RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich
Bayern, who booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after an 8-1 aggregate win against Beşiktaş, will be looking to wrap up the league as soon as possible so as to fully concentrate on a competition they last won five years ago under the same manager. The next ‘hurdle’ in their quest to yet another league title, is at Leipzig on Sunday — the last fixture of MD 27.
It has been a turbulent season for the Red Bull-backed club. The added burden of European football has certainly taken its toll on Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side. More uncertainty waits as they can be losing a few of their key players in the summer. Naby Keita will leave for Liverpool and reports from Germany indicate that Timo Werner will be joining the Guinean at Anfield. Werner spoke about his desire to stay after his side’s 0-0 draw against Stuttgart last Sunday, but things change very quickly in football.
Thiago, who was injured in Bayern’s Champions League game, might not be available for this match but his recent set back is said to not be serious.
The last time the sides met at the Red Bull Arena a nine-goal thriller happened. Leipzig surrendered 3-1 and 4-2 leads to eventually lose 4-5 to the Bavarians.
Saying the same will happen on Sunday is naïve but I’m predicting an exciting game that will result in a narrow win for Bayern.
Freiburg vs Stuttgart
Friday’s Match Day opener is between two sides that seem to have evaded relegation. Stuttgart sits in 10th and Freiburg in 14th. although only five points about the playoff spot. Breathing an air relatively free of relegation fears, the sides are expected to put on an entertaining affair on Friday. Stuttgart have garnered 14 points from their last six games, while Freiburg have earned six points from six matches.
Stuttgart’s French international Benjamin Pavard was voted ‘Rookie of the Month’ by Bundesliga fans and was named to the French squad for upcoming friendlies, perhaps an indication that the youngster will represent Les Blues at the World Cup. Pavard had this to say about February Bundesliga rookie:
“I am delighted to be ‘Rookie of the Month’. However, it’s something I have to thank the whole team for, based on our really great performances of late. Without my teammates, this wouldn’t be possible. Together, we are stronger.”
I am predicting a draw!
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim currently occupies seventh place, three points ahead of ninth-place Gladbach. As far as Europa League qualification goes this is a crucial game for both sides, a match that can potentially decide their season.
Hoffenheim is enduring a somewhat underwhelming season especially given the fact that they were so impressive last season. Of course, losing key players and injuries played a part in that, but inconsistency has been the norm too often this season, although Andrej Kramaric is now providing a consistent source of goals, with six in his last six matches. The same can be said about Gladbach, who after missing on continental football last season seems to be in a rut, with a squad decimated by injury (12 senior squad players currently out injured). Dieter Hecking is continuously coming under pressure for his side’s poor form and lack of clear identity.
Julian Nagelsmann before the game: “To get to Europe is obviously a massive incentive for the club. Borussia has few injuries, but I still struggle to find a bad player of theirs. Despite their defeats, they are a team that can play top-level football.”
A win for Hoffenheim is the prediction!
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Mainz
Eintracht is on the rise and Mainz is slipping up.
Niko Kovac’s side is in 5th place. They are on course to secure European football for next season. Whether that will be the Champions League or Europa League will remain to be seen.
Mainz still has relegation worries lingering over them. The Zero Fivers are in the relegation-promotion playoff spot and need to start gathering points in order to avoid what could be a nervy and possibly a sad end to a bad season.
Manager Sandro Schwarz is well aware of the quality of his opponents:
“Eintracht are full of confidence. They win the ball well, they press hard and they’re very dangerous in the box.”
A win for Frankfurt!
Augsburg vs Werder Bremen
Impressive FC Augsburg just keeps marching on. An away win against Hannover has hoisted them up to eighth place and in contention for a Europa League berth. Their next opponents are the Green-Whites whose formidable home form has put them in 13th place. Under Florian Kohfeldt Bremen have won 6 and drawn 3 of their 9 home games.
The man who grabbed a brace for Augsburg last weekend is the danger man in this game as well. Kohfeldt on Michael Gregoritsch:
“He has very good movement and is unpredictable in the box. We need to keep tabs on him and stay tight in the area.” The manager also stated that Gondorf won’t be available for this game.
A win for Augsburg!
Hamburg vs Hertha Berlin
Oh, Hamburg! You have done it again! Another huge loss to Bayern and another managerial change but perhaps the possibility of relegation which is very close to becoming a reality is something new for the Red Shorts. This is the right time to sit back and reflect on their past mistakes and start rebuilding.
Mid-table Hertha doesn’t has seen their Europa League possibilities slip, with no wins in their last four matches.
A draw is my prediction!
Wolfsburg vs Schalke
Wolfsburg is in trouble yet again. This is a side that was playing Champions League football two years ago and lifting the DFB pokal a year before that. Much like Hamburg, poor transfer policy and managerial appointments have let the Wolves down. Bruno Labbadia’s appointment is not bearing fruit at the moment.
On the other hand, Schalke is back to their best. The second-placed side already has more points than they had in the entirety of last season. Such has been the influence of Domenico Tedesco who took no time in transforming a Schalke side that was heading in the wrong direction. Wolfsburg can learn a thing or two from the Royal Blues.
Borussia Dortmund vs Hannover
No matter what BVB fans feel about Peter Stöger there have been a couple of joyous moments in the past week. Marco Reus has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at BVB until 2023, another fan favorite Łukasz Piszczek has also extended his contract until 2020, and the new Batman has scored a last-gasp winner against Eintracht- The Black and Yellows will be hoping that he too will stay longer than the six month loan deal.
Hannover recorded an impressive 4-2 win when these sides met earlier in the season, but at the Signal Iduna Park- it will be different. Unless something magical like a Kiyotake wonder free-kick happens BVB will hold on to all three points, although Hannover’s central midfielder, Salif Sane, who leads the league in clearances, will likely make it difficult for BVB to sustain a consistent attack in the early match of Sunday’s Bundesliga triple-header.
Cologne vs Bayer Leverkusen
Cologne may still be at the bottom of the table but that doesn’t dampen the excitement of this derby. Leverkusen managed to beat Gladbach 2-0 last time out and moved to fourth place in the process. Just like Schalke, the managerial change has paid off for Die Werkself as they look to be getting back to the Champions League.
Despite playing on home soil I don’t see the Billy Goats getting anything out of this game.
A win for Leverkusen is the prediction!