Bundesliga 2013, Week 32 preview and fixtures: Schalke move closer to Champions League

Christof Koepsel

With only three games remaining in the Bundesliga season, Schalke are close to clinching their spot in next season's Champions League.

German football is the talk of the world this week after it was confirmed that we would have an all-German final in this year's UEFA Champions League final. Borussia Dortmund held on to edge Real Madrid in their tie, while Bayern Munich put together a huge demolition of Barcelona over two legs. Our attention turns back toward the domestic game this weekend, and the headliner is a preview of the Champions League Final, when Bayern travels to Dortmund.

Friday, May 3

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Schalke - 2:30 PM ET / 20:30 CET
Borussia Mönchengladbach have alternated between wins and losses in their last six matches and will have their work cut out for them on Friday afternoon when they host Schalke in a match with European consequences for both sides. Gladbach has kept the pace just outside of the European places for the majority of the season and are now only one point behind Freiburg for the final spot. Schalke are three points clear of Eintracht Frankfurt for the fourth spot in the Champions League for next season. Their turnaround since the winter break has been impressive as they move to secure another berth in Europe's elite competition.
Prediction: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 2 Schalke

Saturday, May 4

Nürnberg vs Bayer Leverkusen - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Nürnberg are safe from relegation and are likely too far away to challenge for a place in Europe for next season, while Bayer Leverkusen have secured their place in next season's Champions League. A win for Leverkusen will secure a place in the group stage of the competition for the second time in three seasons.
Prediction: Nürnberg 0 - 2 Bayer Leverkusen

Werder Bremen vs Hoffenheim - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Thomas Schaaf's side has been sitting in fourteenth place for several weeks now and are facing the real threat of relegation this season. Werder Bremen announced earlier this week that Marko Arnautovic and Eljero Elia were suspended for the remainder of the season after a run-in with the police. Schaaf is a Werder man through and through but can he get them the precious points they need to survive? I'm predicting a huge win for Hoffenheim in this match. A win will pull them level on points with both Augsburg and Fortuna Düsseldorf in their bid to escape the relegation zone. After looking dead in the water for months, can they do it?
Prediction: Werder Bremen 1 - 2 Hoffenheim

Hannover vs Mainz - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Both Hannover and Mainz have been falling down the table in recent weeks and are in desperate need of some help if either club are to find themselves back in Europe next season. It's been several weeks since Hannover has put in a good performance, and last week's 3-2 victory over Greuther Fürth won't instill any confidence in the side as they barely deserved to walk away with all three points. Mainz haven't scored in their last two outings, but they'll find Hannover's defense easier to breakdown.
Prediction: Hannover 1 - 1 Mainz

Stuttgart vs Greuther Fürth - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
With Europe likely out of reach and relegation not a concern, Stuttgart have only one game remaining of any consequence, and that's the DFB Pokal Final against Bayern Munich. Greuther Fürth saw their relegation to the 2.Bundesliga confirmed last weekend, but they won't go down without a fight.
Prediction: Stuttgart 2 - 1 Greuther Fürth

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Fortuna Düsseldorf - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Europe is still well within reach for Eintracht Frankfurt, and a win over Fortuna Düsseldorf would move them even closer to clinching a spot. Düsseldorf are going to be in a fight over these last three weeks to lock up their survival in the top flight for next season. Can they get it?
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 2 - 1 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich - 12:30 PM ET / 18:30 CET
We get a preview of the Champions League Final this weekend when Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich at the Westfalenstadion It is the third time that the two clubs have faced each other this season, with the other other two results being a draw (league) and a Bayern win (DFB Pokal quarterfinal). Bayern are clearly the stronger side this season and, with Mario Götze out for potentially the rest of the season, will be favorites this weekend even in Dortmund. The Bavarians have won all fourteen of their league matches so far since the winter break with a goal differential of +39. Dortmund have acquired the second highest total of points in that same time period, but Die Borussen has not been up to the same quality as their Bundesliga rivals this season.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1 - 3 Bayern Munich

Sunday, May 5

Freiburg vs Augsburg - 9:30 AM ET / 15:30 CET
Even though they've fallen four points behind Schalke for the league's final Champions League spot, Freiburg can keep their eye on the prize even with announcements throughout the squad that various players are leaving in the summer. Jan Rosenthal, Max Kruse, and Daniel Caligiuri have already announced their departures, and nobody would really be shocked if we learned about the transfers of Matthias Ginter, Fallou Diagne, Johannes Flum, and Jonathan Schmid. Christian Streich has kept the side together this season, and I wouldn't put it past him to do the same even if these players leave. Augsburg are in the relegation playoff place but are tied on points with Fortuna Düsseldorf who sit one place ahead of them. They have shown remarkable fight in the second half of the season, but it'll be tough work to down Freiburg this weekend.
Prediction: Freiburg 2 - 0 Augsburg

Hamburg vs Wolfsburg - 11:30 AM ET / 17:30 CET
Hamburg need points to remain in contention for one of Germany's two remaining Europa League places. A win at home against Wolfsburg will go far to increasing their challenge on one of those spots. While Wolfsburg are now safe from relegation, they're also not likely going to be able to claim one of the Europa League places, so most of these players only have their jobs to play for in the remainder of the season. How pumped can Dieter Hecking get his Wolfsburg side with relatively little to play for this weekend?
Prediction: Hamburg 2 - 1 Wolfsburg

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