This matchday marks the last one in 2017. It has been quite eventful this year even though Bayern dominated throughout the whole year. Köln went from a team that qualified for the Europa League to a team that is all but relegated and Dortmund went through three managers.
Action kicks off on Friday (8.30) when Gladbach and Hamburg play against each other. Both haven’t been in great form lately and neither have won since their surprise wins against Bayern (Gladbach) and Hoffenheim (HSV) causing Gladbach to fall out of the European places and HSV to drop down to their beloved relegation Play-Off place. For Hamburg this is the chance to end the year on a high and for Gladbach the chance to get back into the European places and go into the cup fixture against Leverkusen in high spirits.
Saturday afternoon (3.30) features a handful of interesting matches. Bremen have the chance to surpass Mainz when they play against them and end the season out of the direct relegation places which would be huge after the terrible start to the season. Köln get a last chance to prevent going into the history book at the team that played the worst Hinrunde in Bundesliga history. when they host Wolfsburg. Schalke travel to Frankfurt in a bid to defend their second place and end the year on the highest points total since 2012 – they qualified for the Champions League that year. Augsburg who thrilled everyone with their performance at Schalke play Freiburg and have the chance to finish the Hinrunde on a similar points total to the they accumulated in the season that ended with them qualifying for the Europa League but Freiburg have shown that they aren’t pushovers winning at Köln after being 3-0 down and defeating Gladbach at home. Stuttgart who started very well but tailed off lately are the last team who has to play against Bayern.
The “Topspiel” (6.30) is one that decided about direct qualification for the Champions League last year: Dortmund v Hoffenheim. Now both teams sit right behind the Champions League places and with how weird this season has been a win for either of them should lift them into 4th place. This should be a worthy evening game mainly because it is absolutely unpredictable. Dortmund is the better team but they only just won their first game since late October and trying to predict Hoffenheim this season is never a good idea.
Sunday you’ll be able to watch half of the current Top four: In the first of two games (3.30) Leverkusen travel to Hannover who already have won 22 points but actually won 18 of them in the first eleven games and depending on what happens elsewhere Leverkusen could finish the year as the “Bayern chaser” number one and that would be a huge achievement considering they battled relegation just eight months ago.
The second game (6.00) and the last Bundesliga match of 2017 takes place in Leipzig who host Hertha Berlin. Leipzig have proven that they are one of the better teams in the Bundesliga but also that they are not close to Bayern and several teams have effectively cancelled them out by playing very narrow and one thing that Hertha can do well is defend narrow so this should be an interesting tie