Thursday, 13 March 2014

Bundesliga Matchday 25 Preview: Top Matches FCB vs Leverkusen, BVB vs Glabach

With Bundesliga participation in the remaining eight of the Champions League all but settled, the Bundesliga invites its clubs on the pitch for Matchday 25.  Leverkusen, while putting in a respectable game in Paris has been eliminated and faces the arduous task of facing Bayern in the Allianz Arena.  Borussia Dortmund, which faces Zenit St. Petersburg in the second leg at home next week, hosts Borussia Moenchengladbach, which is currently in eighth spot.  Dortmund comfortable leads Leverkusen by four points and can increase that lead, should Leverkusen drop three points to Bayern.

Bayern is chasing, among other records, their own record of 101 goals, which they set in the 1971/72 season, with the Bomber of the nation Gerd Mueller. 33 goals in the next ten games would get them there.  Leverkusen's performance since the winter break has been below form.  Bayern will probably continue its winning spree.

Dortmund faces Borussia Moenchengladbach ahead of their second leg with Zenit St. Petersburg. After some huffing and puffing at the start of the season, Dortmund is once again competitive and a team to reckon with.  BVB holds a four point cushion over Leverkusen and a win against eighth place Gladbach could increase it to seven.  There is enough motivation there to keep Dortmund winning. 

Schalke 04, currently even on points with Leverkusen has a unique chance to overtake the "Werkself."  There opponent, currently in sixth spot, is not an easy opponent particularly at home.  Schalke needs a success prior to traveling to Madrid to take on one of the truly great clubs in Europe. Success could be defined with saving one point in Augsburg.

Wolfsburg, currently in fifth spot, travels to Braunschweig. While Braunschweig's is at the bottom of the league, the clubs relative standing is deceiving and the side can be a formidable challenge.  Wolfsburg need to have the right attitude to walk out of Braunschweig with three points.

The relegation fight is still wide open, with most of the clubs in the second half of the table having the vulnerability  to end up with that dilemma with ten games to go.   Stuttgart, Hamburg, Freiburg and Braunschweig all need wins if they are to slide out of the relegation zone, but it becomes increasingly more difficult. 

Frankfurt and Freiburg meet head on on Sunday and the outcome is important for both sides.  Frankfurt requires a top performance to defeat Freiburg.  Hamburg and Nuernberg are precisely in the same position.  Bremen hosts Stuttgart on Saturday.  The Schwaben are just outside the relegation zone by goal difference, while Bremen has a cushion of eight points.   Hoffenheim hosts its neighbours from Mainz and this is always a great local derby.  For Mainz there is still a chance to make a Euro League spot, while Hoffenheim is all but out of it.

Aside from Bayern, the competition for a Champions League spot next season is still wide open, while Dortmund has a bit of a cushion now with the four point lead over Leverkusen.  Nevertheless every game still counts.  The top nine are pulling away from the remainder of the field and will contest Euro League spots.  This weekend will further solidify the final outcome of the league and as always should be delightful for the fans.

All eyes will be on the game in the Allianz  Arena, with the view of Bayern breaking another undefeated record or for Leverkusen fans to see if the club is returning to its previous form.  The Dortmund/Gladbach game will be a test of wills, although Juergen Klopp will undoubtedly spare some players for the Zenit match.

Friday 14 March

FC Augsburg vs Schalke 04  0-1

Saturday 15 March

Borussia Dortmund vs Bor. Mönchengladbach       
Werder Bremen vs VfB Stuttgart       
Hertha BSC vs Hannover 96       
Eintr. Braunschweig vs VfL Wolfsburg       
1899 Hoffenheim vs FSV Mainz 05       
Bayern München vs Bayer Leverkusen

Sunday 16 March
Hamburger SV vs 1. FC Nürnberg       
Eintracht Frankfurt vs SC Freiburg 

Posn  Team             GP   W   D   L    GF/GA   Points

1      FC Bayern         24    22   2    0       72:11      68
2      Dortmund         24    15   3    6       55:27       48
3      Schalke             25    14   5    6       48:36       47
4      Leverkusen       24    14   2    8       40:27       44
5      Wolfsburg         24    12   3    9       41:38       39
6      Augsburg          25   11   5    9        38:36       38
7      Mainz                24   11   5    8        33:36       38  
8      M'gladbach       24    10   6    8       41:30       36
9      Hertha BSC      24    10   6    8       35:28       36
10    Hoffenheim       24     7   8    9       52:52       29
11    Bremen              24     7   7  10       28:46       28
12    Hannover           24     7   5  12       31:43       26
13    Frankfurt           24      5  8  10       27:40       26 
14    Nürnberg           24      4 11   9       27:42       23
15    Stuttgart            24      5   5  14     37:51        20
16    Hamburg           24      5   5  14     39:53        20
17    Freiburg            24      4   7  13      22:45       19
18    B'schweig         24      4    5  15     19:44       17

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