FC Bayern München could win the title for a fourth successive time – a feat never achieved before – with a victory on Saturday, but lower down the table there are lots of other talking points on Matchday 32.
But first, a bit about the champions-elect…
A win hands Bayern the title
Pep Guardiola’s side could wrap up another successful domestic campaign with a victory over fifth-placed VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. In what is a record-breaking season for the Bavarians in many respects, the Foals are one of only two teams to beat Bayern in the Bundesliga this season – the other being 1. FSV Mainz 05 – having won 3-1 at home prior to the winter break.
Bayern have good reason to be confident of attaining the victory they need too, they have lost only three of their 47 home matches against André Schubert’s side.
Mönchengladbach, of course, are in the middle of a tight battle for the final Champions League qualification spot with Hertha Berlin, so there is no reason to expect the visitors from being at their best for this one. More on this later…
Dortmund to keep the good times rolling
Bar a collapse of epic proportions by the league leaders, Borussia Dortmund are just about guaranteed to finish in second place – they trail Bayern by seven points but have a 20-point lead over Bayer 04 Leverkusen in third place.
Whilst a Bundesliga title is almost definitely out of reach of Thomas Tuchel’s side, there is still the DFB Pokal final against Bayern in three weeks time to play for. All the more reason for Dortmund to maintain their usual high standards.
Their opponents at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday is an out-of-sorts VfL Wolfsburg side, who have gained only two points from their last five matches and have only a pair of wins from their travels all season.
A month ago Wolfsburg were in the thick of the battle for the European places but now, after their torrid run of late, they find themselves in 10th place, five points behind FC Schalke 04 in seventh.
The battle for the Champions League spots
Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the league’s in-form side with six successive wins, take on Hertha at the BayArena in Saturday’s late fixture. Last week’s 3-2 win over Schalke guaranteed Roger Schmidt’s side a spot in the Champions League next season, but a win in this one guarantee them third place domestically and a definite spot in the Group stage of Europe’s premier club event.
Meanwhile, the side from the capital have hit a rough patch at exactly the wrong time – they have lost three of their last four matches and with only a one-point lead over Mönchengladbach, there is a clear incentive for everyone involved here to be at their best.
After winning the reverse fixture 2-1 and considering their sublime form over the last six weeks, Leverkusen is the clear favourite in this one, but regardless of the result it should be a tense affair.
Derby battle adds another twist to relegation battle
Local derbies have the tendency to be spicy affairs at the best of times, but Saturday’s clash between SV Darmstadt 98 and Eintracht Frankfurt promises to be one for the annals. Darmstadt won this tie for the first time in 33 years when they won 1-0 at the Waldstadion in December, so doing the double over their neighbours would be particularly pleasing. Securing their Bundesliga status at the same time? Well that would be something of a football Utopia.
Thirteenth-placed Darmstadt have a five-point lead over their local rivals in 17th, a win would probably put enough distance between themselves and 16th place to be certain of their Bundesliga status. Such a result would leave Frankfurt as strong favourite to join Hannover 96 in 2. Bundesliga next season.
A rare case of Monday night football
Sunday is a public holiday in Germany so we have a match on Monday night, which is something of a rarity. Seventeenth-placed SV Werder Bremen (31 points) is right on the cusp of the relegation zone ahead of the match against VfB Stuttgart, who are one place but two points ahead of their Matchday 32 opponents.
Neither side are in particularly great form going into the encounter – Bremen have lost four of their last six while Stuttgart have just one point from their last five games – so don’t expect this one to be pretty, however enthralling it might be.