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Bundesliga Match day 29 Preview: Who will take the European spots left behind champions Bayern?

April 12, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
Despite Bayern being crowned champions last week, there are still a few important matters to sort out in the league.

The Battle for the European Spots

Freiburg and Hannover are separated by four points. Freiburg is primed to qualify for the Europa League as they sit in fifth spot in the league. Christian Streich’s side recorded a victory in Hamburg last week. Hannover away from home is incredibly poor. Somehow, Mirko Slomka has failed to find a cure for Hannover’s poor away form. Freiburg should take all three points.

Hamburg previously was one of the favorites to enter the Europa League. Currently, they are eleventh courtesy of a horrendous goal difference. Hamburg takes on Mainz, another of the prior favorites for the Europa League spots, looking to go back into the herd of challengers for those spots.

Borussia Mönchengladbach takes on Stuttgart in an attempt to return to the top six. Gladbach is seventh currently, only one point behind fifth place. Gladbach secured a narrow win over Greuther Fürth last week and will take on a talented albeit lacklustre Stuttgart side which drew against Hannover in the north of Germany. Gladbach should take the full compliment of points even though Stuttgart can easily spring a surprise win.

Frankfurt currently sits in sixth place. Having occupied the fourth spot previously, they are now trying desperately to hold on to the Europa League spots. Despite losing last week, their performance against Bayern offered plenty of hope for the future. The performance also came without some of their best performers. They play an Augsburg side battling desperately for survival this weekend

The Big One

Schalke and Leverkusen, currently separated by only four points, takes on each other. Leverkusen’s consistency has seen them remain in the top three for most of the season. They are primed to finish third but Schalke can come to within one point of them with a win on Saturday in the late game.

Schalke and Leverkusen both consist of talented stars. Both teams watched ruefully as the quarterfinals of Europe’s major competitions went on without them, knowing they were both talented enough to be in the quarters. Schalke could have had a fantastic season if they had perhaps stuck with Huub Stevens, despite the dip in form through November to December.

The Derby

FC Bayern takes on Nürnberg this weekend in a derby which has much more meaning for the club from Franconia than it does for the German champions. Bayern will have one eye on the DFB Pokal semifinal with Wolfsburg in midweek. Nürnberg meanwhile now has the Europa League spots in their sights. They are the only side to have taken away points off Bayern in the Bundesliga. Only two teams in the entire season have been able to do damage to Bayern in their own homes. Nürnberg can definitely be proud of being one of them.

Relegation Battles

Bayern’s midweek opponents, Wolfsburg, take on a Hoffenheim side desperately trying to stay alive. Hoffenheim’s Bundesliga dreams and adventures are coming to an end seemingly. Wolfsburg will of course have one eye on the midweek game and could rest some of their important stars.

Bremen and Fortuna, separated by two small points and still not clear of the relegation zone, will try to move as far away from it as possible when they take on each other in the weekend. Fortuna was mauled by Hoffenheim, 3-0, last week. Robbie Kruse sounded almost too downtrodden in the post match interview. Bremen went down to Schalke by two goals; a few losses could see them being pulled into the bottom three. Any spot in the bottom three would surely draw the curtains on Thomas Schaaf’s long and wonderful Bremen career.

A Match Lacking Purpose

Borussia Dortmund, six points ahead of third placed Leverkusen and ten points ahead of fourth placed Schalke, is almost guaranteed second spot in the league. Greuther Fürth, eight points behind seventeenth placed Hoffenheim, is almost guaranteed relegation. BVB and Fürth will battle it out this week. This match is almost a friendly at this point. Dortmund has to focus on the Champions League semifinals as well. Nonetheless, BVB should win this one.

Finally, who will take the fourth and final Champions League spot in the Bundesliga? Let us know your thoughts!



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