With only 3 games left in the Bundesliga prior to this weekend, there will have been plenty of teams feeling a little uneasy ahead of their games. Cologne knew nothing less than a win would in Freiburg end their stay in the Bundesliga while their opponents will have been looking for 3 precious points to move away from the drop zone. Hamburg were also looking to pick a crucial victory in Wolfsburg, who themselves faced the prospect of ending the weekend in the relegation play-off place if Mainz could get a result at home against Red Bull Leipzig. Ralph Hassenhutl’s men have a had a dreadful month and now look unlikely to qualify for next season’s Champions League. They will need everyone above them – Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim – to lose a considerable amount of games between now and the end of the season if they are to mount a late challenge for a top-four place. A good result in Mainz on Sunday though was pivotal to that aim.
Hoffenheim 3-1 Hannover
Hannover welcomed Hoffenheim to the HDI-Arena on Friday night on the back of a 3-0 thumping at the hands of champions incumbent Bayern Munich. Hoffenheim fared much better on their travels last week when they pulled off a stunning 5-2 victory in Leipzig. Things started well for the home side when Andrej Kramaric gave them the lead after just 16 minutes. However, the lead wouldn’t last long as Kenan Karaman’s goal pulled the scores level on 24 minutes. Kramaric wouldn’t be deterred though and doubled Hoffenheim’s lead, and his own tally, on 50 minutes. Hoffenheim would seal the points and it was that man Kramaric on hand again to score his hat-trick on 86 minutes.
Bayern Munich 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Bayern took on their new manager this week following their routine dispatching of Hannover last Saturday, while Frankfurt were surprisingly thrashed 3-0 at home by Hertha Berlin. Bayern took the lead here when debutant Niklas Dorsch put them ahead on 43 minutes. That goal was partly down to Sandro Wagner’s generosity, though karma would pay off for him on 76 minutes when he got a goal of his own to make it 2-0. Sebastien Haller pulled one back for Frankfurt just 2 minutes later to give Niko Kovac’s side hope. It wasn’t to be, however, as two late goals from Rafinha (87) and Niklas Sule (93) secured the points for Bayern.
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Augsburg
Hertha were looking to build on their fantastic win in Frankfurt last weekend with a similar victory over Augsburg on Saturday, who themselves got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win over Mainz. Things started well for the away side here when Michael Gregoritsch put them ahead, becoming the highest scoring player in a single Bundesliga season for Augsburg in the process. Things got even better for Manuel Baum’s chargers when Sergio Cordova seemed to have secured the points on 63 minutes. Things started to unravel though and it began on 84 minutes when Vedad Ibisevic pulled one back for Pal Dardai’s boys on 84 minutes. The comeback was complete just 3 minutes later when Davie Selke equalised. Marcel Heller’s red card in stoppage time for violent conduct capped off a disappointing afternoon in the capital for Augsburg.
Freiburg 3-2 Cologne
Freiburg faced their second relegation six-point in as many weeks, although their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Hamburg last week didn’t exactly go to plan. Cologne went into this one knowing anything less than a win would seal their relegation despite their pleasing 2-2 at home to Schalke last weekend. Nils Peterson put Freiburg ahead on 14 minutes before doubling their lead on 52 minutes. With Cologne’s relegation minutes from being confirmed Leonardo Bittencourt scored twice in five minutes on 82 and 87 minutes respectively to give them real hope. However it wasn’t to be for Stefan Ruthenbeck and his side, and their worst fears were confirmed in stoppage time when Lucas Hoeler’s late winner sent them into 2.Bundesliga while also giving Freiburg a great chance of survival.
Schalke 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Schalke’s aforementioned draw in Cologne last week was a far cry away from their Ruhr derby victory the previous week. Gladbach’s 3-0 win over lowly Wolfsburg aided Dieter Hecking’s side’s push for Europe. This game got off to an awful start for Domenico Tedesco’s team when Nabil Bentaleb was dismissed after just 12 minutes for a terrible tackle. Gladbach would go on to make their man advantage count as well when Raffael gave them the lead on 32 minutes. It wouldn’t last though and Daniel Calligiuri would equalise from the penalty spot 3 minutes into first half stoppage time to salvage a point for Schalke.
Wolfsburg 1-3 Hamburg
Following their defeat in Gladbach last week, Wolfsburg knew a win for Hamburg here would leave them in deep trouble going into the final two games. Hamburg, however, will have been buoyed by their 2-0 home win over Mainz. It took until the 43rd minute for the deadlock to be broken and it came from the penalty spot, Bobby Wood being the Hamburg hero. Lewis Holtby has been excellent since Christian Titz took charge and he double Hamburg’s advantage in stoppage time. Josip Brekalo pulled one back for the home side on 78 minutes, giving them hope of pulling off a comeback. However, Hamburg wouldn’t let this one go and Gian-Luca Waldschmidt sealed a vital 3 points for them in injury time, dragging Wolfsburg into trouble in doing so.
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 VfB Stuttgart
Leverkusen’s top four clash with BVB last Saturday didn’t exactly go according to plan, losing 4-0 at Signal Iduna Park when a win would have secured Champions League football for Heiko Herrlich’s side next season. Stuttgart’s 2-0 win over Werder Bremen continued a steady first season back in the top flight where they will also ply their trade come August. It looked for a long time like this one would end goalless. That was until Christian Gentner scored an unlikely winner for Tayfun Corkut’s Stuttgart, consigning Leverkusen to their second defeat in as many weeks.
Mainz 3-0 Red Bull Leipzig
Mainz’s loss in Hamburg last week meant that a win was absolutely necessary going into this one. Ralph Hassenhutl’s Red Bull Leipzig have floundered in recent weeks, no more so than during their heavy defeat at the hands of Hoffenheim, and they will have been hoping to set the record straight here. It didn’t start well for the away side however when Pablo De Blassis gave Mainz the lead inside 29 minutes from the penalty spot. It took until the 85th minute for the game to get its next goal and it was Alexandru Maxim who doubled Mainz’s lead. Bote Baku made it 3-0 in stoppage time before Naby Keita was given his marching orders for the fourth time this season. This win moves Mainz out of the relegation play-off place, drop Wolfsburg right in it, and bring to an end Leipzig’s awful April.
Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
Bremen are now safe but will still have been disappointed with their performance during their 2-0 defeat in Stuttgart last week. Peter Stoeger’s neck has been on the line recently, though his team’s 4-0 win over top-four rivals, and the subsequent leapfrogging of Leverkusen, will have eased some of the pressure on the Austrian. Marco Reus would give Dortmund the lead on 19 minutes before Thomas Delaney equalised on the stroke of half-time. BVB probably should have won this game given the amount of chances they had but found Bremen ‘keeper Jiri Pavlenka in inspired form.
Game Week 33 Fixtures
Saturday 5th May
Borussia Dortmund vs. Mainz (14.30)
Cologne vs. Bayern Munich
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Hamburg
Augsburg vs. Schalke
Hannover vs. Hertha Berlin
Borussia Moenchengladbach vs. Freiburg
Red Bull Leipzig vs. Wolfsburg
VfB Stuttgart vs. Hoffenheim
Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen.