Scott McKenzie (@scottmckenzie81) is here to look back on the penultimate weekend and look ahead to the finale of the Bundesliga, a league that was supposed to be done and dusted by now, right?
Well, we have finally reached the end & who would have thought that we still have a title race in der Bundesliga. Thanks to last weekend’s results where FC Bayern could only get a goalless draw at RB Leipzig, who had already qualified for next seasons Champions League & also will play in the DFB Pokal final in Berlin in a couple of weeks time. While Borussia Dortmund held on against Fortuna Düsseldorf to get a 3-2 in at the Westfalenstadion with the visitors missing a penalty & receiving a red card.
In the race for Europe, things are very interesting after last weeks games. We had Werder Bremen winning 1-0 at Hoffenheim in Julian Nägelsmann’s final game before taking over at Leipzig next season. The result of this is that the best both can now hope for is a place in next season's Europa League qualifiers. This also applies to Wolfsburg who lost 3-0 to Stuttgart & more on them later.
In the chase for fourth, there was another team who were playing a relegation-threatened club in Borussia Mönchengladbach who sent Nürnberg down by beating them 4-0. While in Leverkusen who were celebrating 40 years in the Bundesliga could only draw 1-1 with Schalke who were already safe. To finish off their week on a down note considering their loss to Chelsea in the Europa League they lost again at home to Mainz 2-0. So this leaves us with Gladbach & Leverkusen on 55 points & Frankfurt on 54 points.
So to Matchday 34 the final day of the Bundesliga season we have games that could decide where the title goes & who gets fourth place. Potentially the tastiest of all the games are at the Allianz Arena where Bayern will be hoping for a title win there for the first time since moving from the old Olympiastadion in 2005 will play a Frankfurt side trying to get that fourth place & bounce back from their Europa League heartbreak where a win is really needed. Meanwhile, the other big game involves Gladbach hosting Dortmund with captain Marco Reus looking to haunt his former employers by denying them Champions League football. And finally, we have Leverkusen making the trip to the Olympiastadion in Berlin to play Hertha in which will be Pal Dárdai’s last game in charge after 22 years associated with the club.
In the remaining race for a Europa League place where a win is necessary, we have Bremen at home Leipzig, Hoffenheim going to Mainz & Wolfsburg home to Leipzig.
At the other end of the table, things are settled with Nürnberg & Hannover already relegated. Stuttgart confirmed their play in the playoffs last weekend. All that needs to be confirmed is who will play them with Union Berlin or Paderborn with the other going up automatically with Köln who have already won the title. Sadly this means Hamburg won’t be joining the party but it’s entirely deserved considering the clubs poor form since the winter break with them 9 points behind Köln. Personally, the change of coach has been the difference but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Please remember that like in the Premier League last Sunday we have all our games at the traditional Saturday 14:30 kick off. With the Bayern, Dortmund & Leipzig games on BT Sports but behind the red button.
Once again, any questions you can either tweet me or add a comment at the bottom of the page.
If, unlike Scott, Bundesliga isn't your bag, there is still plenty of football on the continent to take in this weekend, even though we are getting toward the end of the current football season, sad face.
On Saturday, a slightly different kind of game that you could take in would come from the Eredivisie, when Heracles host Utrecht. You might be thinking that the league is done surely? Well, it is, and Ajax won their 34th title which gives me a very warm and fuzzy feeling, but the Dutch league also has play offs, both for relegation and also for European qualification. I'd be interested to see the intensity of this game, does this mean a lot to the sides to secure this? I wonder whether it's something that Scotland could implement, maybe the quality of this tie will have an impact on that opinion. That game is at 17:30 on Premier Sports 2.
On Sunday, after seeing Rangers complete their first season under the stewardship of Steven Gerrard, Napoli host Inter Milan in the penultimate Serie A matchday of the season, at 19:30 on Premier Sports 1. There isn't a great deal riding on this game in all honesty, Napoli are secured in second, and Inter might be secured of top 4 safety depending on other results. I wonder if we will see a significant gap between the two sides in this game, and if Napoli prove they are so much better than the Nerazzuri, then it will prove all the more reason why Inter need to do all they can to get Antonio Conte.
Until we speak again, happy watching!