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Bundesliga Match-day 31 Preview: A Deciding Weekend for Relegation Battlers

April 26, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
Greuther Fürth, the fairytale story of the 2.Bundesliga last season, could be set to go back down after just one season in the top flight this week.

The Big Games

German champions Bayern München welcomes Freiburg at home in a hugely important clash for the team from the Black Forest. Christian Streich’s team is slowly getting ripped apart as the excellence of his players has been revealed. Max Kruse for example has already decided to leave the club for Mönchengladbach. For Freiburg, qualification for the Europa League might just be better than qualification for the Champions League.

This is because in the cut-throat world of the Champions League, Freiburg, without many of their current stars, might get ripped apart next season. Streich however will surely want his team to have a position in the top four. A win against record breaking Bayern is surely on his mind at the moment.

The team behind Bayern in the league, Borussia Dortmund, takes on Fortuna Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf lost last week to Hamburger SV, leaving them just three points above the relegation playoff spot. What had seemed almost like guaranteed survival a couple of weeks ago has turned into a scrap for survival. Things do not get easier for them definitely this week. Considering that they managed to earn a 1-1 draw in the Westfalenstadion in the first half of the season, Düsseldorf definitely has a chance.

Dortmund’s arch rivals, Schalke, take on Hamburger SV this week. Schalke slightly surprisingly went down to Frankfurt last week. The match included a missed penalty for Schalke. A win would have seen them create a much needed gap between themselves and the two teams behind them. Their slip allowed both Frankfurt and Hamburg to make up distance on them. In fact, Hamburger SV sits just two points behind them now. Another loss could see Schalke’s Champions League dreams start to sink away.

The Intriguing Battles

Frankfurt’s next opponent is Thomas Tuchel’s Mainz. Mainz sits a good six points behind them. Frankfurt has managed to win two of their past five fixtures. Mainz has been on a poor run to say the least, having picked up only two points from their previous five games, including a loss to Dortmund last week. Frankfurt can take another win here and start yet another challenge for fourth spot.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen takes on Werder Bremen. Leverkusen put in a master class last week, hammering Hoffenheim 5-0. One of the heroes on the day could soon depart for English pastures. Andre Schürrle will reportedly be on the move during the summer. Bremen is just five points ahead of the relegation playoff spot. Last week’s 0-3 drubbing at the hands of Wolfsburg was almost hurtful to watch. Thomas Schaaf has looked just slightly helpless recently. Where does his team go from there?

Three spots above Bremen sit Pokal finalists and Europa League qualifiers VfB Stuttgart. Stuttgart this season has shown that despite their background problems and “austerity measures”, they can still spring up a challenge or two. They have climbed up to tenth spot already. With one more point needed to almost guarantee survival, Stuttgart will look to continue the season in a carefree manner. Their next opponent is a team which increasingly looks the part, a team which is seemingly on its way out of the relegation zone, FC Augsburg.

Augsburg however went down to a slightly static Borussia Mönchengladbach last week. Gladbach’s win allowed them to sneak into seventh spot, two points behind fourth. A win over a Wolfsburg side which has an abysmal home record could even see them go into fourth considering the erratic forms of Schalke, Frankfurt and Freiburg.

Relegation Battles

Hannover 96 is seemingly safe at the moment. However, a drubbing at the hands of Bayern last week must have surely left some bitter. Their sporting director Jörg Schmadtke is set to leave the club as well. Their opponent this week is the team which could be set for automatic relegation this week. Fürth will remain in the Bundesliga if they win and Augsburg loses. If Augsburg picks up a point or wins and Fürth loses, Greuther Fürth’s primary Bundesliga journey will come to a horrible end.

Fürth will go down knowing that they won one derby which their fans will remember for ages. They beat FC Nürnberg last week in yet another Bavarian derby. Nürnberg has to play another relegation battler this week in Hoffenheim. A win for Nürnberg will guarantee them survival regardless of other results.

Finally, this is a huge week for the Bundesliga. Every team from thirteenth and above can guarantee themselves survival this week with a win. At the other end of the table, a five way battle for fourth place could see many teams shift places. Consistency is urgently needed; aside from the top two and Stuttgart, nobody is seemingly being able to string together a few good results at the moment.

Will Greuther Fürth be relegated this week? Will Hoffenheim edge a step closer to doom? Let us hear your thoughts!



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