Bundesliga Matchday 34: Dramatic final day relegation battle in store
The Bundesliga relegation battle is going down to the final day, with three teams still fighting to avoid the drop.
Arminia Bielefeld, Werder Bremen and Koln remain in danger of finishing inside the bottom two or in the relegation play-off spot, setting up a tense finale at the foot of the table.
There is also qualification for the newly-formed Europa Conference League to be decided, as Union Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach, Stuttgart and Freiburg engage in a four-way tussle for European football next season.
Koln vs Schalke (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Koln go into the final weekend in the most precarious position — they need to win and hope Bremen and Bielefeld drop points to survive.
Friedhelm Funkel’s men have the easiest opponents on paper, facing already-relegated Schalke in the final game of a disastrous season that has seen them amass just 16 points.
But victory is far from a foregone conclusion — Saturday’s visitors pulled off the shock of the round last weekend, when their 4-3 victory over Frankfurt ruled Die Adler out of top-four contention.
That result will only add to the nerves at the RheinEnergieStadion.
Werder Bremen vs Borussia Monchengladbach (Saturday, 2.30pm)
This game has implications at both ends of the table.
Bremen know they are likely to need three points in order to overtake Bielefeld and secure safety, though a draw may be enough thanks to Die Werderaner’s superior goal difference.
That is easier said than done — Monchengladbach remain hopeful of jumping on a Union Berlin slip up to seize Germany’s only Europa Conference League spot next season.
With no wins in their last nine and eight defeats over that period, the omens are looking bleak for Bremen, who appointed club legend Thomas Schaaf last Sunday to try and save them.
Stuttgart vs Arminia Bielefeld (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Arminia Bielefeld head into the final day with their fate in their own hands — beat a Stuttgart side still gunning for the Europa Conference League and another season of Bundesliga football beckons.
Frank Kramer’s outfit go into this season decider in reasonable form, losing just one of their last seven fixtures and picking up victories against Freiburg and Schalke.
The one concern for Die Arminen is their lack of goals. No team in Germany’s top flight has scored fewer than their 24 goals and no player has struck more than four times for Bielefeld in 2020-21.
If they can find their scoring touch, survival looks within touching distance — but Stuttgart’s European hopes mean they will be similarly motivated on Saturday.
Union Berlin vs RB Leipzig (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Few would have expected Union Berlin to be in line for European football at the start of the season but the capital club find themselves in the driving seat for Europa Conference League qualification.
They face the tough task of beating runners-up RB Leipzig but will be buoyed by the visitors’ drop in form after guaranteeing a spot in the top four.
RBL have only won once in their last five outings, though Union have not been particularly impressive in recent weeks either — picking up just two victories in their last eight.
Die Eisernen may have to rely on the goals of in-form Finnish forward Joel Pohjanpalo. He has four in his last three after netting a hat-trick against Werden Bremen at the end of April.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Freiburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Freiburg will need to better the results of Union Berlin and Monchengladbach — as well as Stuttgart’s goal difference — if they want to compete in Europe next season.
They have been frustratingly inconsistent over the final months of the campaign but last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich was a reminder that Christian Streich’s team can pull off a result against the best on their day.
The side from Baden-Wurttemberg have often been undone by their defence this season and have the league’s fourth-worst expected goals against (xGA) tally of 51.9 — almost three goals worse than the 49 they have actually conceded.
But with Frankfurt still reeling from their failure to secure Champions League football after just one win in five, Freiburg may be facing their more illustrious opponents at the perfect time.
Saturday's other games
Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen (2.30pm)
Bayern Munich vs Augsburg (2.30pm)
Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin (2.30pm)
Wolfsburg vs Mainz (2.30pm)