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Bundesliga Match-day 32 Preview: Battles for Pride, Survival and European Places

May 3, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
Last week signaled the return of Klaas Jan Huntelaar to the Bundesliga and the Bundesliga to the top tier of Europe. This week, the European, relegation and pride battles will resume.

Matters of Pride

Bayern München will take on fellow Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund this week in a ‘preview’ of the showdown at Wembley. Neither side will field their strongest lineups after midweek exertions but everyone on the pitch will want to protect the bragging rights of his team. It is important to earn a small step forward psychologically. Bayern will show no mercy if Borussia is there for the taking on Saturday and vice versa.

Bayern’s Bavarian rival, Greuther Fürth, has already been relegated. They will look to restore some pride against Swabians Stuttgart. Stuttgart needs a point to guarantee survival; they have almost nothing to play for this season. They have already qualified for Europe of course via the DFB Pokal.

The Big Matches

The Friday opener this week in the Bundesliga is a blockbuster clash between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Schalke 04. Klaas Jan Huntelaar returned to action with a bang as he scored a hat trick against Hamburger SV last week. Hamburg had actually taken the lead in that match through Marcell Jansen. They had no game plan though and Schalke simply battered them. The three points allowed the Royal Blues to breathe a bit as they are now three points above fifth placed Frankfurt.

Mönchengladbach rather surprisingly fell to Wolfsburg last week. They were beaten 3-1 in the Volkswagen Arena, a place where plenty of away teams have enjoyed success this season. Gladbach is seventh in the table, five points behind Schalke and one behind the final Europa League spot.

Occupying the first Europa League spot in the Bundesliga is Eintracht Frankfurt. Frankfurt slumped to a goalless draw last week. They will have to hold off the challenges of relegation battlers Fortuna Düsseldorf this week to ensure that they remain in fifth. Düsseldorf is now level on points with Augsburg; they are truly fighting for survival. They desperately need some points; Fortuna went down last week to Dortmund, 1-2.

Augsburg meanwhile has to travel to Freiburg this weekend in what will be a tight encounter. Freiburg had chances against Bayern last week and came away with a respectable 1-0 defeat. They will look to hold on to the Europa League spots by beating an Augsburg side which hammered Stuttgart last week. The Bavarians are seemingly the favorites for automatic survival at this point.

Third placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen meanwhile takes on FC Nürnberg. A win for Nürnberg will guarantee the Bavarians survival for yet another season in the Bundesliga on meager resources while a win for Bayer Leverkusen will guarantee them a top three finish, one that they will definitely deserve considering that they have won more than half of their fixtures this season.

Slim Chances

Hannover 96 is four points away from a European spot following a last gasp win over Fürth last week. Mainz’s draw last week left them five points adrift of the final European spot. The two sides take on each other as they attempt to make one last challenge for the Europa League berths. The chances of either side being in Europe next season are slim.

Hamburger SV’s chances are slim too following last week’s bashing at least in terms of morale. In reality, they are only a single point away from a Europa League spot. They play Wolfsburg; Wolfsburg is five points away from the final Europa League spot and is still in the race to qualify for it. They should take this one considering HSV’s lackadaisical approaches to matches.

The Relegation Battle

Hoffenheim sits three points behind the relegation playoff berth following a win over Nürnberg last week while Bremen sits two points ahead of the playoff spot following a defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. The two take on each other this weekend. Bremen could ban Elijero Elia and Marko Arnautovic for the remainder of the season due to their disciplinary problems. Bremen is well and truly in turmoil. If Hoffenheim wins this match, Werder will sink ever closer to unthinkable relegation.

Who will win the preview of the Champions League finale this week? Will Bremen find a way out of their problems? Tune in this week to find out!

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