Despite there only being two rounds of matches left in Germany’s top flight this season, there is plenty at stake for most sides in the Bundesliga.
We take a look at some of the talking points of Matchday 33 on Saturday, where all nine matches will kick off simultaneously:
Bayern to be crowned champions
FC Bayern München need two points to be mathematically guaranteed of being crowned champions for the fourth successive year. Although there’s a sense that Pep Guardiola’s side are limping over the line somewhat following a couple of disappointing results in recent weeks, they should have far too much in the locker for FC Ingolstadt 04 when they visit Audi Sportpark.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) May 6, 2016
A Dream Team ! Lewi and Müller are the 3rd strike duo of # BL – history with 20 goals this season . #Wearewhoweare
Should the Bavarians fail to get three points against Ingolstadt, and Borussia Dortmund beat relegation candidates Eintracht Frankfurt, the battle for the title would go down to the final week, which in itself attests to the quality of the performances of Thomas Tuchel’s side in recent times, after Bayern had seemingly had the league title already won half-way through the season.
Ingolstadt have the fourth-best defensive record in the Bundesliga and are bound to be tricky opponents, but considering their top-flight status has already been secured and they are out of the running for the European spots, it is hard to imagine Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men will exert themselves too much in this one.
Bayern remain without the injured duo of Holger Badstuber (ankle), and Arjen Robben (adductor), while Ingolstadt hosts Germany’s most successful side without the services of Robert Bauer (suspended), Danny da Costa, Max Christiansen (both knocks), and Danilo (light training).
Dortmund, meanwhile, were at their devastating best when they beat Frankfurt 4-1 at the midway point of the season, but since then Niko Kovac’s side have turned their season around somewhat.
Although they are still only one point above the relegation zone and far from certain in which division they will be next season, they have won back-to-back games for the first time since the winter break last month.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) May 6, 2016
Season over ! @ Guendogan8 dislocated kneecap in team training.
That said, getting something of BVB might be a bridge too far for Frankfurt this time around. Dortmund have more Bundesliga wins against Frankfurt (41) than against any other team and have won five of the last six matches between the two teams.
Battle final Champions League spot
With only two points behind fourth and sixth – VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hertha Berlin, FC Schalke 04 and 1. FSV Mainz 05 only two points further adrift in seventh, the battle for the final Champions League spot remains the closest in recent memory.
Arguably the pick of this week’s matches sees Mönchengladbach host third-place Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who have already secured their spot in Europe’s premier club competition next year.
Bayer are currently on a run of seven successive wins domestically, and will set a new club record should they add an eighth to that run this weekend.
Despite their superior recent form and league position, Gladbach will be filled with confidence of getting something from this one since they have one of the best home records in the Bundesliga: 37 of Gladbach’s 49 points this season were attained at Borussia-Park.
Leverkusen won the reverse fixture 5-0 with Javier Hernandez scoring a hat-trick, but Saturday’s match is likely to be a far more evenly contested affair.
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04fussball) May 6, 2016
“We want to strengthen our position in the summer . But it will not come and go 10 New 10 players. ” #Schmidt # BMGB04
Hertha, meanwhile, simply can’t afford any more slip ups. Pál Dárdai’s side found themselves in third place for large parts of the first half of the season, but after losing four of their last five matches, their season has come to a grinding halt.
Standing in their way this time around is SV Darmstadt 98, who themselves are in the middle of a tight relegation battle, albeit with some breathing space between them and Frankfurt.
Even though their form has dropped off the proverbial cliff in recent weeks, the Berliners’ form in the first half of the season means they are guaranteed a spot in the Europa League, at the very least, for the first time in seven years.
History suggests Hertha will get something from this one, though – they are the only team against whom Darmstadt have yet to score a single goal in the Bundesliga.
Schalke also face a tricky opponent in FC Augsburg, who need one more win to be absolutely guaranteed of a spot in next season’s Bundesliga.
— FC Schalke 04 (@s04) May 6, 2016
The # S04 – day : Not public training before # S04FCA .
Augsburg have taken 10 points from their last four matches and haven’t conceded a goal in their last three matches, a club record.
In the reverse fixture, Augsburg recorded their first-ever win over Schalke thanks to an injury-time winner from Caiuby da Silva.
The relegation battle
The battle at the bottom was extensively covered here on Friday, so we are only going to cover the fight at the foot at the table briefly.
They key match to focus on in this regard is VfB Stuttgart’s match against Mainz, a tie in which a victory would have significant consequences for either side.
If the other results go in their favour, Mainz could move up to fifth place and level on points with fourth with a victory, while Stuttgart could find themselves as high as 14th should they take the three points.
A draw would pretty much keep the status quo and considering both teams’ form in recent weeks, that seems the most likely outcome.
Stuttgart have already suffered nine defeats this season and a 10th would be an all-time record for Jürgen Kramny’s side.
Mainz on the other hand, have only won one of their last eight matches and are four matches without a victory ahead of Saturday’s encounter.
Stuttgart have also lost their last three matches at home and a fourth successive defeat would be another unwelcome record for Die Roten.