Every single season, the relegation battle always begins to draw more eyes as the final matches begin to approach. "Which sad sack teams have found themselves down in a battle for survival this year?" is generally the mindset, as long as you aren't one of those teams. Well, this season in the Bundesliga has something a little different.
As Matchday 29 in the 34 game schedule approaches this weekend, there are six different clubs that face the very real threat of relegation. Among this group are two massive clubs in Hamburg and Stuttgart. What does this all mean? It means were in for one amazing run-in as the season draws to a close.
The relegation fun starts on Friday afternoon when Hamburg hosts Bayer Leverkusen. Hamburg are all the way down in one of the league's two direct relegation positions on only 24 points. Leverkusen have double their points (48) and are sitting in fourth place. However, Leverkusen's grasp on fourth can only be described as tenuous. Die Werkself have not had a good Rückrunde and are slipping further and further down the table. The opportunity is there for Hamburg to spring the upset, and Hakah Calhanoglu will likely be the one to lead it.
The first stop on Saturday takes us to Stuttgart basically have found themselves in a must win match against Freiburg. New manager Huub Stevens --- He is Stuttgart's third this season. --- has decided that Stuttgart's best chance for survival is to rely on veteran leadership instead of talented youngsters. This has seen a quality player like Timo Werner relegated to "final substitute duty" or not even seeing the field at all in recent weeks. This isn't good news for those of us that enjoy watch Werner play football, i.e. Everyone. Freiburg on the other hand need to be applauded for deciding to stick with Christian Streich throughout this campaign when they appeared dead and buried just a few weeks ago. With three wins and a draw in their last four matches, Freiburg can almost secure another season in the top flight with a win against Stuttgart. Don't be surprised when you see Streich pushing his team to victory over Die Schwaben.
Gertjan Verbeek's time with Nürnberg has been interesting since taking over earlier this season. While he seemingly had the side playing much better football, the actual results on the field weren't coming along. Players in amazing form such as Josip Drmic couldn't help Der Club as they lost five out of their six matches in March, including three to fellow relegation candidates. Borussia Mönchengladbach are playing well once again and are within a shout of a Champions League place. It's tough to see Nürnberg getting all three points here. However, since they're outside of the relegation today, all points keep some distance.
Sunday sees another big relegation "six pointer" with Eintracht Braunschweig hosting Hannover. Yes, Die Löwen were picked by yours truly at the beginning of the season as a sure-fire relegation candidate, it's great to see them with a fighting chance at survival with only a few weeks remaining. If they win while Stuttgart and Hamburg lose this weekend, Braunschweig will be in the relegation playoff spot. Unreal. For Tayfun Korkut and Hannover, Sunday's match with Braunschweig is an opportunity to basically secure their safety after an injury plagued season for the club and many of their stars.
Friday, April 4
Hamburg vs Bayer Leverkusen
Saturday, April 5
Stuttgart vs Freiburg
Augsburg vs Bayern Munich
Werder Bremen vs Schalke
Nürnberg vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Borussia Dortmund vs Wolfsburg
Sunday, April 6
Eintracht Braunschweig vs Hannover
Hertha Berlin vs Hoffenheim