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Bundesliga Matchday 32 Preview: Several teams fighting for their lives at the bottom

FC Köln v Werder Bremen

Köln’s defenders will be very happy with themselves as they returned to training this week after a clean sheet against Borussia Dortmund, which meant they have failed to score for the first time since October! Their attackers failed to make the most of some good chances against Dortmund and the likes of Modeste will be looking to forget all about that as they host Werder Bremen, who have been on a scintillating run of form and have gone from a relegation scrap to being in a European spot from almost out of nowhere.

Werder Bremen went out on the last matchday and beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 with goals from Max Kruse and Fin Bartels, who had the best April with 8 goals over the course of the month, and has been at the root of Bremen’s amazing rise up the Bundesliga table.

For this game, I believe that the result will be a draw. I feel that both sides will have plenty to offer to the game in terms of attacking options, and both sides have got goals in them so I think a 1-1 draw for this game will suffice.

Mönchengladbach v Augsburg

Mönchengladbach had an impressive performance when they beat Mainz away from home in the last matchday with goals from Lars Stindl and Nico Schulz in a 2-1 victory, which moved them a step closer to the European spots and gave them a chance to gain on their closest rivals such as Hertha Berlin, Freiburg and Köln, who all dropped points in the last matchday. These points could be very precious in the last three games of the season.

Augsburg took a huge step towards their survival last weekend with a thumping 4-0 victory over Hamburg, which saw Halil Altintop shine at home on Sunday, and those three points and +4 goal difference could be crucial in their absolute dogfight towards safety to secure their place in the Bundesliga for next season.

For this game, I believe that a 2-1 Mönchengladbach win will be the case for as Gladbach simply have the better quality players than Augsburg, with players like Lars Stindl in good form. I think Gladbach will just have too much for them when they travel to Borussia-Park.

Ingolstadt v Bayer Leverkusen

Ingolstadt held their own when they went away to a free scoring RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena and managed to come home with a point and most significantly, a clean sheet. Ingolstadt have had trouble scoring goals all season which is why they’re down in the bottom two now, but you can’t help but feel if they were to take more of their chances they would happily be safe and already looking towards next season now.

There is a crisis at Leverkusen for me now though, and Tayfun Korkut has not been able to have the desired effect that the board wanted when they appointed him, and now they’re on the brink of not being able to play in any European competition next season, which could spark some of their best players like Julian Brandt, Javier Hernandez, Kevin Volland and Bernd Leno all wanting to leave in pursuit of European competition next season. So it will take some convincing from Korkut in order to keep their key players there for next season, as well as for them to make the sacrifice of going without the continental competition.

For this game, I believe that a 2-0 Ingolstadt win is on the cards as Ingolstadt make one last attempt at being able to stay up amid tough games for the teams around them this weekend, as Ingolstadt look to complete the double over Leverkusen, which highlights just how bad Leverkusen’s inconsistency has been this season.

Dortmund v Hoffenheim

The clash that not everyone is watching out for but definitely should be, with the title now officially wrapped up by Bayern Munich, the race for 3rd and who will take the last automatic qualifying spot for the Champions League is on and this six-pointer will ultimately decide which of the two finishes in 3rd spot.

Dortmund went out and drew 0-0 against Köln in their last fixture and will need to up their game if they aim to get a victory against a very hard to beat Hoffenheim side under Julian Nagelsmann, who guaranteed the club will play in the Champions League next season for the first time ever.

Hoffenheim, on the other hand, secured the three points against Eintracht Frankfurt last time out through a late Benjamin Hübner header to secure all three points at the death, which isn’t the first time that Hoffenheim have found something from nowhere at the end of a game.

For this game, I think that the big players for Dortmund will show their stripes and I think that a 1-0 win for Dortmund will be the end result.

Eintracht Frankfurt v Wolfsburg

Eintracht Frankfurt are really stuck in limbo now at the minute and it feels like they’ve lost their fight and their season is now over, although Marco Fabian is still maintaining his high-performance levels which has made him a fan favourite in Frankfurt. They’re in the DFB Pokal final and respectively it feels like their attention has purely shifted towards that.

Wolfsburg, on the other hand, are level on points with Augsburg who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot, and it still feels so surreal that Wolfsburg, a side who are used to playing in the Champions League and challenged for the title a couple of years ago, now have a very good chance that they may be playing 2. Bundesliga football next season. If results go against Wolfsburg this weekend then they could be in real trouble, which is strange to see as their squad is still full of high-quality players.

For this game, I feel that a 1-1 draw would be a fair result as Frankfurt try to boost their confidence ahead of their cup final clash at the end of the season against Dortmund in Berlin.

Bayern Munich v Darmstadt

Bayern Munich are now the champions of Germany for the 5th consecutive time, an achievement that we knew would happen when RB Leipzig started to fade away out of the title race. It was just a matter of how quickly Bayern could wrap up the title, confirming the first piece of silverware under Carlo Ancelotti, and their 6-0 win against Wolfsburg away from home was a very stylish way to complete the job and a great way to bounce back after their defeat in Madrid.

Darmstadt, on the other hand, had a blistering 3-0 win at home to Freiburg on the last matchday and are still yet to be relegated, although it does seem like the inevitable will come eventually, but Darmstadt are still left hanging by a thread.

I believe that a 3-0 Bayern win would justify this game as they now look to finish the season on as many points as possible against a Darmstadt side who have been very inferior away from home.

Hertha Berlin v RB Leipzig

Hertha Berlin will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Werder Bremen last weekend, which means they’re still yet to pick up any points away from home in 2017, a record that Pal Dardai will want to eliminate almost immediately. Hertha do however have that amazing home record that is keeping them in the running for a European spot and currently places them in 5th position.

Leipzig are without their first choice centre back Willi Orban for this clash and he will be a big miss for them as they head to the Olympiastadion, which has been a fortress for Hertha all season and has seen them lose only twice, so getting a result in Berlin won’t be an easy task.

For this game, I believe that a Hertha Berlin win will be the end result as I feel that Hertha are deadly from set pieces, with the likes of Brooks and Stark at the back, and without Orban being able to command the back line they may struggle to fend off the Hertha attack.

Hamburg v Mainz

Hamburg were on the end of a 4-0 drubbing to fellow relegation rivals Augsburg which has seen them drop into the relegation play-off. So this game against fellow relegation rivals Mainz is a huge six-pointer in the relegation battle.

Mainz were on the end of a defeat against Gladbach which they didn’t really show enough fight in to take anything away from the game, and this will need to change come Sunday if they want to achieve anything out of the game. With their fellow relegation rivals having tricky games, this is a perfect opportunity for either team to get some distance away from the dreaded relegation zone.

Freiburg v Schalke

Freiburg were on the receiving end of a heavy 3-0 defeat to relegation threatened Darmstadt last weekend, a result that some Freiburg fans will deem as embarrassing as they sit in 7th place and occupy the last European place, but as it stands, only if Dortmund win the Pokal will they qualify for the Europa league.

Schalke on the other hand conjured up a storm when they travelled to Leverkusen last Friday and won 4-1 and shocked most of Germany, highlighting the crisis at Leverkusen right now.

For this game I feel that a 2-1 win in favour of Schalke will be the end result as they look to propel themselves further towards the Europa League.

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