Bayern Munich's big win in Berlin on Tuesday may have clinched them their 24th German championship, but the rest of the Bundesliga is still up for grabs. The midweek Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke may have ended in a scoreless draw, but the battle between the two for second place in the final few matches of the season should come right down to the wire.
After the start to the season that Schalke put together, it seemed like every week we were questioning whether or not Jens Keller should remain the manager in Gelsenkirchen. He seemed to get every decision wrong and compounded most mistakes by doubling down on them. However, he's recently turned things around for the better, and Schalke are set to fight for second place in the league for the remainder of the season.
On Friday they'll host Hertha Berlin who have not fared very well in the Rückrunde. Schalke have been boosted in this second half by the return of Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The Dutchman has scored 9 of his 12 goals since the winter break and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Hertha will have their hands full trying to keep Huntelaar and Schalke off the scoreboard in this one.
On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund will be visiting the Mercedes Benz Arena in Stuttgart to take on a side that are fighting for their lives in the top flight. Stuttgart are on their third coach of the season in Huub Stevens, so perhaps he can find a way to connect with the players that Bruno Labbadia and Thomas Schneider were unable to do. On paper, Stuttgart should be comfortably midtable and challenging for a spot in Europe. In reality, they're in a direct relegation position and two points from safety.
Jürgen Klopp has done a pretty good job in balancing a busy schedule with a lack of depth in addition to injuries. Unfortunately, they picked the dreaded matchup with Real Madrid in the Champions League, so they might only have the league to focus on after the next two weeks. Schalke have an easier run down the stretch than BVB, so Klopp needs to have his team thinking "win" in all of these league matches
On Saturday, Mainz will host Augsburg in what surely will be the Football Hipster Match of the Day. These are the two biggest overachieving clubs so far this season. Mainz held Bayern scoreless last weekend for longer than any other club has this season, but eventually lost the match 2-0. They followed that up with a defeat midweek against lowly Eintracht Braunschweig.
Augsburg didn't fair much better with a draw against Wolfsburg and a defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. Markus Weinzierl has done an incredible job getting them into the position they are in right now, and they're going to make it tough on the clubs above them, including Mainz, for the remainder of the season.
Friday, March 28
Schalke vs Hertha Berlin
Saturday, March 29
Bayer Leverkusen vs Eintracht Braunschweig
Wolfsburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Stuttgart vs Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim
Mainz vs Augsburg
Freiburg vs Nürnberg
Sunday, March 30
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Hamburg
Hannover vs Werder Bremen