The Bundesliga returns to our screens this week after a week’s break and Matchday 28 is sure to serve up some exciting action throughout the weekend.
Here’s a taste of what you can look forward to:
Bayern edge closer to title
FC Bayern München will continue their charge towards a fourth successive Bundesliga title when they host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
The Bavarians could stretch their lead over Borussia Dortmund to eight points – albeit only temporarily – with a victory over a side 42 points behind them on the table.
Die Adler are currently in 17th place in the standings, and while they have shown significant improvement under new boss Nico Kovacs, a former Bayern player, they remain serious contenders for the drop.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) March 31, 2016
“Two heads know more than one” – Nico #Kovac before returning to München
The champions have kept a clean sheet in their last seven meetings against their opponents on Saturday and an eighth would be a Bundesliga record. Bayern’s star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is a doubt for the match, though, after the giant stopper picked up a stomach bug earlier this week.
Busy month awaits Dortmund
Dortmund is in action later in the day and Thomas Tuchel’s charges are expected to close the gap to Bayern down to five points with a victory over SV Werder Bremen, assuming Pep Guardiola’s outfit is victorious.
April will be a busy month for Dortmund, with a Europa League quarter-final against Liverpool and a DFB-Pokal semi-final against Hertha Berlin both on the horizon.
BVB are the form side in the Bundesliga since the turn of the year, winning eight of their 10 matches and drawing the other two. Only two of their last 10 matches against Bremen ended in defeat for Die Schwarzgelben, which includes a 3-1 triumph in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Battle for European qualification hots up
The top two in the Bundesliga have all but secured their places in the group stage of next season’s UEFA Champions League, but the remaining two places remain up for grabs.
Berlin are in third place on 48 points, some 16 points adrift of Dortmund, with FC Schalke 04 in fourth on 44, VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen on 42, 1. FSV Mainz 05 on 41 and VfL Wolfsburg in eighth place on 38.
The side from the capital will look to strengthen their grip on the final automatic Champions League group spot when they travel to Mönchengladbach in what is something of European six-pointer.
Gladbach won the reverse fixture earlier in the season 4-1, and another victory for André Schubert would see the gap to third place shrink to just three points. Despite the continued absence of Tony Jantschke, Oscar Wendt and Alvaro Dominguez, Die Fohlen have kept clean sheets in their last three matches and are quietly confident of getting a positive result.
Fellow European hopefuls Leverkusen and Wolfsburg will be involved in another intriguing Matchday 28 encounter when they do battle at the BayArena on Friday night.
Bayer’s star striker Javier Hernandez has been firing blanks for his club in recent times, but after scoring twice on international duty for Mexico.
Wolfsburg, meanwhile have struggled for form since the turn of the year and have only 12 points from their 10 games in 2016. This fixture has never finished 0-0 and if Dieter Hecking’s side is able to draw inspiration from their 5-4 win in last year’s match, more goals are guaranteed here. Should Die Wölfe taste defeat on Friday, their Champions League hopes will come to an abrupt halt.
It’s tight at the bottom
Bottom of the table Hannover 96 seem doomed on 17 points, but each of the nine sides above them, including 1. FC Koln in ninth place, run the risk of being drawn into a relegation battle. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – in 16th place on 27 points – are one of the form sides in the division, though, with 13 points in seven games. Should they get the better of the Billy Goats, this time, around, the gap to their opponents this weekend would be closed to three points.
Elsewhere, 15th place FC Augsburg – also on 27 points – take on European candidates Mainz (41 points) in what is an important fixture for both sides. A victory for Augsburg would see them climb up as many as four positions and into the relative safety of midfield, while the same result would see Mainz’s European qualification chances grind to a halt. A victory for the Carnival club, on the other hand, will have exactly the opposite effect…