Bundesliga 2012, Week 25 Preview And Fixtures: Can Bastian Schweinsteiger Salvage Bayern's Season?

DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 07: Bastian Schweinsteiger of Muenchen gestures during the international friendly match between Al-Ahly Cairo and Bayern Muenchen at Al-Rayyan Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The Bundesliga returns, and we wonder if Bastian Schweinsteiger's return can save Bayern Munich's season.

Bayern's Captain Returns

Bastian Schweinsteiger is likely to return to the pitch this weekend after being out for several weeks. The captain has been out since early February after suffering a ligament injury. His return could not come for a better time for the struggling side that could find themselves out of the Bundesliga title race and out of the Champions League in a few days.

With Borussia Dortmund stretching their lead out to seven points last week, Bayern will need to be nearly perfect from here on out for a shot at winning the title. The two sides to play again this season, but that match takes place at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. That match will be a must win for Bayern if they have any hopes of stealing the title from Dortmund.

What kind of difference can/will Schweinsteiger make? His presence will definitely add some stability to the midfield. If Schweinsteiger does get the start (possible), Jupp Heynckes must make the right decision on who to pair with the German international to strengthen the attack and reinforce the defense. That decision could make or break the Bayern season.

Hannover Surging For Europe

While competing in a European club competition, Hannover has managed to find their way within punching distance of one of the Bundesliga's European places for next season. They travel to Bremen this weekend where the hosts have lost back to back matches against Nürnberg and lowly Hertha Berlin. The loss to Hertha was especially devastating as the Berlin side hadn't won a match in four months.

Bremen will be without forward Marco Arnautovic who was injured this week and will be a minimum of six weeks. On the flip side, Hannover forward Mame Biram Diouf has been electric on the pitch since joining from Manchester United at the very end of the transfer window. The Bremen defense haven't been giving up a lot of chances in their last two losses, but they have been made to pay for their mistakes.

A win for Hannover will push them ahead of Bremen in the table and will boost the hopes of 96ers everywhere.

Köln Pushing Away From Relegation Zone?

FC Köln has a huge opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone when they host Hertha Berlin on Saturday. Both sides have struggled immensely since the winter break with Köln picking up four points and Hertha 3 points respectively. Neither side are in great form, but one of these sides has a difference maker. Rumored-to-be-Arsenal-bound forward Lukas Podolski only needs a moment to completely change a match. Podolski has more than half of Köln's goals this season. Mario Gomez and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar are the only two players with more goals. Three points for the Billy Goats could see them leap to 11th place and 6 points out of the relegation zone.


Friday, March 9

Stuttgart vs Kaiserslautern - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM ET

Saturday, March 10

Wolfsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST

Mainz vs Nürnberg - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Freiburg - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST

Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST

Köln vs Hertha Berlin - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST

Augsburg vs Borussia Dortmund - 18:30 CET & 12:30PM EST

Sunday, March 11

Werder Bremen vs Hannover 96 - 15:30 CET & 9:30AM EST

Schalke vs Hamburg- 17:30 CET & 11:30AM EST

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