Bundesliga Matchday 31 Preview: Still All to Play For


There are just four matchdays left in the Bundesliga and nothing has been decided. The only confirmation that may come after this weekend is that Hannover will not achieve complete safety and at worst will be in the relegation playoff. This week’s derby is in the Ruhr Valley as the Royal Blues can only hope to play spoiler to Dortmund’s title hopes. Welcome to Matchday 31.


(Matchday 14:  Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Augsburg)

Augsburg are on a high after a 6-0 thrashing of Stuttgart that put them within reach of safety They are two-for-two under Martin Schmidt and can achieve safety by at least matching Stuttgart’s result against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Top scorer Alfred Finnbogason underwent calf surgery last week and has will miss the rest of the season. However, Marco Richter, with four goals in his last two, is expected to lead the front line.

Die Werkself are still in the running for a Europa League place (two points adrift) and an outside chance at a Champions League place (five points adrift). Lucas Alario came on to break the deadlock last week against FC Nürnberg and could replace the injured Leon Bailey in the lineup on Friday. Bayer have yet to draw in the Ruckrunde under Peter Bosz and are unbeaten in 15 meetings against Augsburg in the top flight.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND vs. SCHALKE (Saturday at 8:30am CT, FS2)

(Matchday 14:  Schalke 1-2 Borussia Dortmund)

BVB’s last sweep of the Revierderby came in 2011-12. They won at the Veltins Arena back on Matchday 14. Paco Alcacer leads the club in scoring with 17, though will likely be coming off  the bench where he has scored 12 of those 17 goals. Mario Götze is likely to start instead. BVB enters this match one point behind Bayern at the top. 

Schalke captain Benjamin Stambouli says that the Royal Blues’ season will be “saved” if they beat Dortmund. Easier said than done as Schalke have won just one in their last eight league meetings against BVB and have won just once in their last 12 overall. As a result, Schalke are not completely clear of the danger zone just six points clear of 16th-place Stuttgart. Coach Huub Stevens will hope his players can rise to the occasion in this 94th Revierderby.

RB LEIPZIG vs. SC FREIBURG (Saturday at 8:30am, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

(Matchday 14:  SC Frieburg 3-0 RB Leipzig)

RB Leipzig can secure a Champions League place with a win over Freiburg regardless of other results. They already have a place in the DFB Pokal Final with victory on Tuesday over Hamburg SV. It won’t be easy against the team that joined them in the top flight in 2016, Freiburg won 3-0 on Matchday 14.

Freiburg can secure safety with a win or if Stuttgart fail to defeat Gladbach, but Freiburg have won just three games away from home out of their last 35 and have not picked up so much as a point at Red Bull Arena. Top scorer Nils Petersen is still out, but Lukas Höler could return after a battle with the flu. 

EINTRACHT FRANKFURT vs. HERTHA BERLIN (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

(Matchday 14:  Hertha Berlin 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt)

The Eagles are still two points clear in fourth place for the final Champions League spot, but are winless in their last two in the league after a draw against Wolfsburg. Sebastien Haller is still out with an abdominal strain, but Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic are still available. Gelson Fernandes returns from suspension. The key will be not looking too far ahead to their Europa League semifinal date with Chelsea. 

Hertha ended their five-match losing streak, but it was a 0-0 draw with Hannover. Marko Grujic is suspended due to yellow card accumulation while Nilas Stark (ankle) and likely Arne Maier (knee) are lost for the season due to injury. While the Captial Club have had their recent successes against Frankfurt, they have lost their last four away from Olimpiastadion. 

HANNOVER 96 vs. MAINZ 05 (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

(Matchday 14:  Mainz 1-1 Hannover 96)

Hannover ended an eight-match losing streak following their 0-0 draw with Hertha. It’s three points that they need against Mainz on Saturday. Bobby Wood and Jonathas returned to training this week and wold be a boost for the 96ers if they can contribute on Saturday. Regardless of result, a point for Schalke will confirm that Hannover will at best have to go through the relegation playoff. 

It’s “Hakuna Mateta” for the 05s as Mainz are safe for another year. Jean-Phillipe Mateta leads the club with 12 goals on the year, including five in his last three matches. Mainz have not lost whenever Mateta has scored this season. 

FORTUNA DUSSELDORF vs. SV WERDER BREMEN (Saturday at 8:30am CT, Fox Soccer Matchpass)

(Matchday 14:  Werder Bremen 3-1 Fortuna Dusseldorf)

The best Fortuna can realistically do is to finish tenth as they are nine points adrift of the team immediately ahead of them. Goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny may return between the sticks after returning to training from a broken hand that has kept him out of the last seven matches. 

Bremen had their string of scoring in every match snapped by Bayern last week and then lost to Bayern in the Pokal on Wednesday. Saturday’s loss also ended a 12-match unbeaten streak and has the Green-Whites in eighth, four points adrift of sixth-place Hoffenheim. Sebastian Langkamp is set to deputize for Milos Veljkovic who was sent off in Munich last week.


(Matchday 14:  Borussia MG 3-0 VfB Stuttgart)

Benjamin Pavard declared himself “one of the best defenders in the league”. But before he moves to Bayern next season, he needs to help lift Stuttgart—who has the worst defense in the Bundesliga—into safety. Stuttgart are six points away from safety, three clear of Nürnberg in 17th, and Markus Weinzierle was sacked after a 6-0 loss to Augsburg that’s left them winless in six. Leading scorer Steven Zuber pinking up a knee injury in training this week will not help matters. 

The Foals are still just two points out of a Champions League spot despite defeat at Leipzig last weekend. Gladbach has gone 3-5-2 in the last three matches with Michael Lang a doubt with a hip injury. Lars Stindl is definitely out for the season with a shin injury. The Foals have been a better road team in the Ruckrunde with 13 points away from Borussia Park compared to just five at home after a 100% home record in the Hinrunde. 

TSG 1899 HOFFENHEIM vs. VFL WOLFSBURG (Sunday at 8:30am CT, FS1)

(Matchday 14:  Wolfsburg 2-2 Hoffenheim)

The Sinsheimers are back in the top six after a four-match winning streak and could go further as they are just three points out of the top four. Hoffenheim have also scored 15 goals in that time with Ishak Belfodil scoring seven of them. He and Andrej Kramaric have spearheaded Hoffenheim’s surge and have alleviated concerns of missing Joelinton for the rest of the season.

The Wolves still have a shot at the top six, but have three teams to pass in addition to the four-point gap between them and Hoffenheim. John Brooks scored a dramatic equalizer late to save a point for Woflsburg against Frankfurt. The Wolves have lost their last three away matches by a combined 10-0, albeit against the top three. Oliver Glasner will replace Bruno Labbadia next season at Woflsburg. 

FC NÜRNBERG vs. BAYERN MUNICH (Sunday at 11am CT, FS2)

(Matchday 14:  Bayern Munich 3-0 FC Nürnberg)

Der Club are nine points out of 15th and the best they can do is the relegation playoff if Schalke get a better result in their match against Dortmund. They have just one defeat in their last four, but the other three were draws there has just been one win in their last 24. That said, it would be some story if they can not only orchestrate a great escape and disrupt the title picture.

Bayern defeated Bremen both in league and cup play in the past few days. They are unbeaten in their last ten in league play and may enter Sunday’s match two points behind Dortmund. Robert Lewandowski leads the Golden Boot race with 21 goals and has scored 37 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions this year. Bayern lead the league as a team with 79 goals scored and will face the second-worst defense in Nürnberg who has shipped 66. 


About Author

Comments are closed.