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Bundesliga Match-day 25: A battle of epic proportions is set to take place for the Fourth Spot

March 7, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
Who will take that fourth spot in the Bundesliga?

The Derbies

FC Nürnberg is set to take on FC Augsburg in yet another Bavarian derby this season. Bavaria is the second best represented region in the Bundesliga this season with four teams. Augsburg’s form has picked up remarkably after the winter break. They defeated Werder Bremen to pick up yet another valuable win last week. Nürnberg picked up yet another draw in a season filled with draws for them against a tired Freiburg side.

Augsburg, on current form, looks to be the victors. Nürnberg, despite being well clear of the relegation zone currently, could be pulled back into it. A win over Augsburg would take them one step closer to safety in a season filled with Bavarian stories, both at the top, bottom and in Nürnberg’s case middle, of the table.

However, this derby is certainly not the biggest one on offer in Germany this weekend. Schalke 04, one of the several contenders for the Bundesliga’s fourth spot, is set to take on Dortmund in the Revierderby. Dortmund lost Sven Bender to injury in midweek. Mats Hummels was absent from the starting line up.

Midweek exertions could help Schalke gain the upper hand. Aside from Schalke’s derby victory in the first half of this season, Dortmund has generally dominated the clash in the past couple of seasons. With a win, Schalke could find themselves in fourth, provided that other results go their way.

The Battle for Fourth

Eintracht Frankfurt currently occupies the spot; however, yet another loss last week saw the gap between fourth and fifth decrease to just two points. They take on a contender for their spot, Hannover 96 this weekend. Hannover is a good five points behind them but has the kind of game which can trouble Frankfurt’s possession based style.

The fourth placed finishers of last season, Borussia Mönchengladbach could take back that spot; they are four points behind fourth place. Their opponent this weekend is a Bremen side which looks more like relegation contenders than European contenders. Bremen’s demise this season has been remarkable. Even the usually sparkling attack has not functioned well.

Freiburg, the closest challenger for the fourth spot to Frankfurt, just two points behind, is set to take on Wolfsburg. Freiburg already occupies a European berth. They are also in the Pokal semifinals. This has been a dream season for the SCF faithful. Wolfsburg is also in the Pokal semifinals. They have been drawn to meet Bayern. They are only six points ahead of the relegation play off berth.

Mainz for a while was the main challenger to Frankfurt for the fourth spot. Their hopes in both domestic competitions suffered recently. Mainz drew with Fortuna last week and is set to welcome Bayer Leverkusen this week. Leverkusen put in a good performance to turn around a one goal deficit against Stuttgart last week. They are a safe bet for Champions League qualification, as they are occupying third spot.

For Stuttgart meanwhile, a better chance of entering Europe would be by winning the Pokal (or making the final if Bayern qualifies for the final) or by winning the Europa League than through the league standings. They are a good nine points behind Frankfurt. Bruno Labbadia might be tempted to rest the likes of Christian Gentner and Vedad Ibisevic after midweek European exertions against yet another fourth place contender in Hamburger SV.

Hamburg was presented with a perfect chance to get closer to fourth spot last week against bottom side Greuther Fürth. Instead, they completely lost the plot, picking up only one point at home. HSV is currently seventh, three points behind Frankfurt.

Tales of two Bavarian sides

The top club in the table is Bavarian as is the bottom club. One is knocking down each positive Bundesliga record; the other is knocking down each negative Bundesliga record. Bayern, the in-form club of Europe at the moment, having beaten Hoffenheim by a solitary goal last week, welcomes Fortuna Düsseldorf this week. With a visit of Arsenal pending, Jupp Heynckes might once again give some of his non regulars a chance.

Finally, Greuther Fürth will take on the team ahead of them by two points, fellow strugglers Hoffenheim. Fürth’s form has somewhat picked up since the sacking of Mike Büskens. A win over Hoffenheim with nine remaining games to go this season could raise some hopes of staying up perhaps.


Who will win the two derbies this week? Let us know your thoughts!

 

 


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