Bundesliga: drama as fight for title draws eyes

The Touchline Sports - Bundesliga: drama as fight for title draws eyes

With Matchday 30 fast approaching, the Bundesliga has entered its dramatic final straight. A tantalising fight for the title has drawn the eyes of the world to Germany’s top division, while at the other end of the table a relegation battle for the ages is keeping excitement levels brimming over. Add the extra ingredient of the race for European football, and it all serves up for an exquisite mix.     

The record champions FC Bayern München – who host troubled Hertha Berlin on Sunday – face a real tussle with Borussia Dortmund to make it 11 championships in a row. Despite Sadio Mane’s seventh goal of the season, Bayern lost 3-1 at 1. FSV Mainz 05 last weekend. The Black-and-Yellows took full advantage, Edin Terzic’s side moving top of the standings with a striking 4-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt, a game in which Donyell Malen netted an impressive double. 

Dortmund kick-start the next round of games under the Friday-night lights with an intriguing match against VfL Bochum 1848, an encounter that bears the moniker of the ‘Little Revierderby.’

Bochum, like the aforementioned Hertha, will be keen to give their chances of Bundesliga survival a significant boost, but both will be up against it with the title contenders in determined mood. Indeed, third-placed 1. FC Union Berlin will be just as keen to add to their points haul after a slender win against Borussia Mönchengladbach brought Urs Fischer’s side to within just four points of secondplaced Bayern. 

The capital club are readying themselves for a monumental challenge against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday. Xabi Alonso’s side are purring and Die Werkself cannot be ruled out as top-four contenders following a blistering 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions that has seen them rise to sixth in the standings and reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals. Florian Wirtz, Moussa Diaby, Jeremie Frimpong et al. have set the league alight in recent times and they are showing no signs of slowing down. 

Leverkusen’s latest win came against fifth-placed RB Leipzig, and Marco Rose’s men will be desperate to bounce back when they play host to TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday. Die Roten Bullen’s Matchday 29 loss also saw them give up fourth place to SC Freiburg, who had Michael Gregoritsch on target twice in a 4-0 triumph against second-from-bottom FC Schalke 04 last time out. Christian Streich’s Black Forest outfit will put their top-four credentials to the test once more when they travel to 1. FC Köln.  

And what of those aforementioned giant-killers Mainz? Well, Bo Svensson has his 05ers on an incredible 10-game unbeaten run and eyeing a European finish from seventh. A mouth-watering match against fellow continental hopefuls awaits at VfL Wolfsburg, who sit just one place and two points behind the Carnival Club.  

Along with Hertha, Schalke and Bochum, VfB Stuttgart, Hoffenheim and FC Augsburg are fighting for their lives in the lower reaches as the games run out, making this weekend crucial for all concerned. 

And then there is the race for individual honours to think of, and not least the chase for the top scorer’s crown, or Torjägerkanone. SV Werder Bremen’s Niclas Füllkrug leads the charge on 16 goals and the Germany international will be keen to return from injury for his side’s visit to Schalke in order to try and fend off Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani, Marcus Thuram of Gladbach and Freiburg’s Vincenzo Grifo, all on 13 goals. 

It all promises to be another weekend of scintillating action as the Bundesliga nears a dizzying climax. And the excitement is no less if you drop down a division too. Hamburger SV’s thrilling 4-3 derby victory over FC St. Pauli halted their neighbours’ late-season promotion charge and keeps them only a point behind 1. FC Heidenheim 1846 in second. HSV go to promoted 1. FC Magdeburg on

Saturday, either with the chance to leapfrog or the need to catch up again to Heidenheim after their Friday trip to SpVgg Greuther Fürth. SC Darmstadt 98 hold a four-point lead at the summit with five games to go, starting at Holstein Kiel on Sunday.

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