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Bundesliga Match-day 34 Preview: Unhappy and Happy Endings; Goodbyes

May 17, 2013 By Samrin Hasib
On a day in which the focus will be on Schalke and Freiburg's battle as well as the contenders for relegation, Bremen will step out onto the pitch for the first time in 14 years without Thomas Schaaf.

The Big Games

The Bavarian derby to be played this week will be the most important one of the season. Bayern will not be involved in it. FC Augsburg will take on Greuther Fürth knowing that a win will see them qualify at least for the relegation playoff. They could have qualified last week but failed to do so against the champions. Augsburg, as the story goes often, gave a wonderful account of themselves only to be picked apart in the second half, 3-0.

If Fortuna does not win and Augsburg does, the Bavarians will automatically qualify for next season’s Bundesliga. Fortuna was involved in the playoffs last season and could set to be headed down the same way unless they pull off a win against Hannover 96. Beating Hannover at home is extremely difficult; Fortuna will need all the fortune in the world to pull off a victory.

Amongst the three contenders for relegation, the toughest job lies in the hands of Hoffenheim. They travel to the Westfalenstadion to play Borussia Dortmund a week before the Ruhr side walks onto Wembley. Hoffenheim is hence seen as the most likely candidate to go down this season.

At the other end of the table, where Hoffenheim wished to be at the beginning of this season, Schalke and Freiburg will be involved in a direct fight for fourth spot. If the two slip up, Eintracht still has a chance to overtake the spot. Freiburg beat Fürth last week; Schalke’s defeat to Stuttgart has brought about this “playoff” as such. In a week in which Julian Draxler extended his contract, Schalke failed miserably against a team which has nothing to play for.

Goodbyes

Jupp Heynckes will fittingly take charge of his last Bundesliga match in Borussia Park against Borussia Mönchengladbach. He is a Gladbach man through and through. He was their star striker during a time when Bayern and Gladbach clashes made the headlines. Heynckes received a goodbye last week at the Allianz. He will probably receive another one this week, extremely fittingly, as a champion.

Thomas Schaaf did not receive such a goodbye. In fact, rumors suggest that he asked Bremen management to let him go. After he saved them from relegation, he walked away from the club he played for since he was 11 and managed for the previous 14 years quietly, in classic Schaaf style. Schaaf’s goodbye will signal the end of an era in Bremen and the beginning of a new but uncertain one. They play FC Nürnberg this weekend.

On a smaller note, Sami Hyppia, now with all the required coaching badges to his name, will take charge of Bayer Leverkusen on his own. Sascha Lewandowski, considered by some to be the brains of the team, will take charge of the youth team next season, making this match the last the duo will take on together. Lewandowski will be missed. Leverkusen will play HSV; Hamburg will look to take advantage of any slipups by Frankfurt to enter the Europa League; however, a certain Stefan Kiessling will be hunting for more goals to grab the top scorer crown.

Rollercoaster Rides

Stuttgart’s rollercoaster ride of a season, as far as the Bundesliga is concerned, will finally conclude this weekend against Mainz. Despite a rather unhappy season, Bruno Labbadia’s troops have secured some good results including the win over Schalke last weekend. The next game for them will come in two weeks time against either a possibly depressed Bayern in Berlin in the DFB Pokal finale.

Frankfurt’s similar rollercoaster ride will come to a full stop against Wolfsburg. A win will see them through to the Europa League of next season, fighting to hold on to their best players and fighting to stay alive in three competitions. A loss could see HSV leapfrog them to the Europa League.


The end of the Bundesliga season is finally upon us. It has been a wonderful season but not everything has concluded. Tell us who you think will survive and who will go through to the Champions League playoffs. We would, as always, love to hear your thoughts!
 


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