Hamburg, Nürnberg and Braunschweig all continued their sluggish forms during week 32, which leaves them trapped in the bottom three with only two matches remaining in the 2013/2014 season, with defeats against European hopefuls Augsburg and Mainz, and Hertha Berlin, who picked up their first win in ten matches, respectively this weekend. Thus Hannover, Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt only needed a draw to secure their top-flight status for next season, while Stuttgart opened up a five-point gap from relegation/promotion playoff spot, currently held by the only ever-present Bundesliga club, Hamburg. Bayer Leverkusen engaged in an entertaining four-goals thriller against Borussia Dortmund, while fellow Champions League hopefuls Wolfsburg also shared the spoils against Freiburg. Bayern Munich come from a half-time deficit to return to their five-star performance at home against Werder Bremen, as Claudio Pizarro grabbed a brace against his old employers.
Honors even at Leverkusen
Dortmund come from behind twice to keep their impressive unbeaten streak alive with a point from their trip to fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, assuring that BvB will finish the season in second place after Schalke’s home defeat against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Die Werkself good unveiled the architect behind Salzburg’s rise in Europe, Roger Schmidt, during midweek as their head coach next season. Wolfsburg also shared the spoils despite taking the lead twice through the in-form Croat winger Ivan Perisic at home against Freiburg.
Gladbach rise up to the task
Lucien Favre’s side collected an impressive three away points in this season’s last Sunday match at Schalke, thanks to Patrick Herrmann’s solitary strike, to keep the pressure on the two sides vying for Champions League place. The Royal Blues held a formidable home record in the Ruckrunde, but they have to wait at least for another week to book their place in next season’s Europe’s elite tournament with a second place finish is now out of question.
Mainz and Augsburg fighting over the last spot for Europa League
Gladbach made sure that they will represent Germany in continental competition next season after their comprehensive win in Gelsenkirchen, as a finish in the top seven is all but guaranteed. That leaves two of the surprising teams of the season in contention for the remaining one spot reserved for Bundesliga clubs in the Europa League. Thomas Tuchel’s Mainz side boosted their chance of returning to the qualifying round of the tournament with a 2-0 win over hapless Nürnberg and maintained their healthy four point lead over Augsburg, who also registered a home win against relegation-threatened Hamburg. Shinji Okazaki broke the number of goals scored by Japanese players with his fourteen goal of the season since joining Mainz from Stuttgart at the start of the season.
Relegation fight down to four sides
After the topsy-turvy relegation battle involved almost half of the Bundesliga sides for a major part of the season, now only four clubs live in the undesired territory with two matches left to be played in the league, which will see all the matches played simultaneously. Mirko Slomka failed to keep the momentum from his dream debut at Hamburg, and now faced the uphill task to avoid the playoffs. Nürnberg let go of Gortjan Verbeek in the midweek,but Roger Prinzen couldn’t change things around in his first outing as coach of Der Club. Braunschweig lost the battle of the promoted sides at Hertha Berlin, remaining at the bottom of the table. Stuttgart can secure safety with a home win against Mainz next weekend.
Hoffenheim’s first goalless draw
Besides the Swabians’ goalless draw at Hannover on Friday, Bundesliga witnessed another scoreless draw in the weekend, as Eintracht Frankfurt breathed a sigh of relief with a point from Hoffenheim secururing their Bundesliga status for another year. It was the Sinsheim side’s first goalless encounter this season, whose prior 31 league matches produced 133 goals, more than four goals per match.
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