Bundesliga 2013, Week 27 preview and fixtures: Battle for fourth heating up in Germany

Lars Baron

After a tumultuous start to 2013, Schalke are on track to move back into fourth place.

The long international break is over, and the Bundesliga returns for Saturday and Sunday action only. The biggest battle comes in the number of teams challenging for the fourth and final Champions League place in the league. It's also possible for Bayern Munich to win the title this weekend, but a few results would have to go their way for this to happen. Here's the week's preview.

Saturday, March 30

Stuttgart vs Borussia Dortmund - 15:30 CET / 10:30 AM ET
They're a good 17 points ahead of them in the table, and Borussia Dortmund should easily dispatch Stuttgart on Saturday. Marco Reus, Mario Götze, Robert Lewandowski, and Jakub Blaszczykowski are one of the top front fours in the entire world. Only three sides in the league have conceded fewer goals than Stuttgart this season, so you should expect Die Borussen to grab a couple.
Prediction: Stuttgart 0 - 2 Borussia Dortmund

Freiburg vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 15:30 CET / 10:30 AM ET
If Freiburg are going to make a play to stay in the European places this season, the weekend match against Borussia Mönchengladbach would be a great place to start. Freiburg haven't won in their last four matches and have conceded ten goals total in their last two outings. On the other side of this match, Gladbach have drawn more matches than any other side in the division this season. While they haven't been as stout as they were last season, Lucien Favre's group continues to grind out results and are in a prime position to challenge for Europe as the season winds to a close.
Prediction: Freiburg 1 - 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayer Leverkusen - 15:30 CET / 10:30 AM ET
Bayer Leverkusen can move ever closer to securing Champions League football with a win this weekend at the Esprit Arena. A loss also moves Düsseldorf ever closer to being passed over by Augsburg in what will likely end in a massive relegation battle. Leverkusen have lost their last two, but they should find it easier against Fortuna.
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 1 - 2 Bayer Leverkusen-

Augsburg vs Hannover - 15:30 CET / 10:30 AM ET
Give a Fuggerstädter an inch, and they'll take the whole yard. Augsburg have picked up 15 points since returning from the winter break and are poised to make it a battle with Fortuna Düsseldorf in the final weeks of the season to escape relegation. Sascha Mölders is almost at double digit goals for the year and could be the saving grace if they last another season in the top flight.
Prediction: Augsburg 2 - 1 Hannover

Mainz vs Werder Bremen - 15:30 CET / 10:30 AM ET
Mainz could end the weekend in a Champions League place with a victory at the Coface Arena over Werder Bremen. Last time out they disappointed in a scoreless draw with Hoffenheim, but they'll always have a shot at winning with a marksman up front like Adam Szalai. There's no question that Bremen have struggled this season under long time manager Thomas Schaaf. They've been a disaster defensively, but they're not shabby offensively.
Prediction: Mainz 2 - 1 Werder Bremen

Schalke vs Hoffenheim - 15:30 CET / 10:30 AM ET
Schalke suffered a major setback with a massive 3-0 loss to Nürnberg last week ending a four match unbeaten run. Hoffenheim are still leaking goals like a sieve, and Die Königsblauen should be able to snag a couple of goals. It remains to be seen if USA international Jermaine Jones will be able to feature for Schalke after picking up a knock in the World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica. Without the feisty Jones in the midfield, Schalke could struggle to pressure the Hoffenheim's attack.
Prediction: Schalke 2 - 0 Hoffenheim

Bayern Munich vs Hamburg - 18:30 CET / 1:30 PM ET
If results go their way this weekend, Bayern will clinch the Bundesliga with a win over Hamburg Saturday afternoon. The Bavarians have been flying high this season, and there's no reason why that should stop now. Hamburg may threaten once or twice, but Bayern should roll to 23rd win of the season.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 2 - 0 Hamburg

Sunday, March 31

Wolfsburg vs Nürnberg - 15:30 CET / 10:30 AM ET
Both clubs have moved even closer to safety over the last several weeks, but Nürnberg can also keep an eye on the Europa League. Okay, they can keep an eye barely on the Europa League. Last time out, Nürnberg pounded Schalke 3-0 to move 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Any points from Wolfsburg at this stage in the season are big to move them closer to mid-table mediocrity.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1 - 1 Nürnberg

Greuther Fürth vs Eintracht Frankfurt - 17:30 CET / 12:30 PM ET
Fürth are looking relegation square in the face, and it's going to take a miracle at this point for them to survive in the Bundesliga for a second season. Frankfurt, on the other hand, have a loose grasp on fourth place and will be looking for their first win since February 2nd. They finally broke their goal-scoring drought last weekend and will be expecting a few goals this weekend.
Prediction: Greuther Fürth 0 - 2 Eintracht Frankfurt

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