Bundesliga Weekend Preview: Round 32

Posted Friday, April 23, 2010 by Goal.com

The Bundesliga’s European hopefuls all have fixtures against lower-ranked opponents this weekend, but no match will be easy.

Friday (all times local)

20:30 Bochum – Stuttgart


15:30 Nuernberg – Borussia Dortmund
15:30 Hertha Berlin – Schalke
15:30 Borussia M’gladbach – Bayern Munich
15:30 Bayer Leverkusen – Hannover
15:30 Mainz – Eintracht Frankfurt
18:30 Werder Bremen – Koeln


15:30 Hoffenheim – Hamburg
17:30 Freiburg – Wolfsburg


Bochum – Stuttgart

With three matches left and a tough tie with Bayern Munich awaiting next week, Bochum need at least a point against Stuttgart. The perennial scrappers are level on points with 16th-placed Freiburg, and are flirting dangerously with a possible trip to the second division. On Friday, coach Heiko Herrlich will need to muster up the best of his squad, which will be missing only Christoph Dabrowski.

A Cacau brace, completed five minutes from time, lifted Stuttgart to victory last week after the Swabians had been a goal down early in the game. It was an important win for Christian Gross' side, who are now in position to qualify for next year’s Europa League. With Hamburg and Wolfsburg nipping at their heels, Stuttgart cannot afford to slip up. For Friday’s match, Gross has ruled out Sven Ulreich, Stefano Celozzi, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Alessandro Reidle.

Nuernberg – Borussia Dortmund

With only goal difference keeping Nuernberg out of the relegation zone, the Bavarian side will be fighting for their lives this weekend. Dieter Hecking will have to get the best out of his squad, which will be without Breno, Andreas Wolf, Angelos Charisteas and Alexander Stephan.

Dortmund’s hopes of a top three finish were badly damaged last week as Hoffenheim stole a late point, and star attacker Mohamed Zidan picked up a cruciate injury. In addition to the Egyptian striker, coach Juergen Klopp has ruled out Sebastian Kehl, Mohamed Zidan, Tinga and Mario Goetze as his team heads to Bavaria.

Hertha Berlin – Schalke

Hertha are all but mathematically relegated, but have a chance to make a statement against title contenders Schalke. The capital club will enter Saturday’s match without Florian Kringe and Roman Hubnik.

Following a crushing defeat to Hannover, Schalke bounced back last weekend with a convincing 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach. Just two points behind Bayern, the Gelsenkirchen side still have a good chance of taking the league title in May. Coach Felix Magath is set to be without Albert Streit, Jermaine Jones, Levan Kenia, Vasilios Pliatsikas, Emin Yalin, Danny Latza, Bogdan Mueller, Marvin Pachan and Perag Stevanovic, who are lacking fitness.

Borussia Moenchengladbach – Bayern Munich

Well clear of the drop, Gladbach have little to play for as a team, but their rising stars - Marco Reus and Raul Bobadilla in particular - will surely look to make a point this weekend against league leaders Bayern. Dorda remains unavailable due to injury and Karim Matmour wll also be out of contention due to suspension.

Treble-chasing Bayern are in top form now, and could all but seal the Bundesliga title with a win this weekend. Louis van Gaal will only be missing suspended captain Mark van Bommel, leaving the Dutch tactician with a selection headache. Following his impressive midweek performance against Lyon, Diego Contento is likely to retain his starting left-back role ahead of Holger Badstuber.

Bayer Leverkusen – Hannover

For Leverkusen, the opportunity to return to Champions League play is rapidly slipping away. The winter champions slumped to a 2-1 loss to Stuttgart last week, and now must win their remaining fixtures if they are to surpass Bremen and not be caught by Dortmund. In addition to suspended midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta, who was sent off against Stuttgart, Leverkusen will have to do without long-term casualty Simon Rolfes as well as Rene Adler, Gonzalo Castro, Renato Augusto and suspended defender Daniel Schwaab.

Last Saturday marked a new low in Hannover’s season. Just days after emphatically beating Schalke, the relegation fighters succumbed to a 7-0 dismantling at the hands of Bayern Munich. Hannover still have a chance of surviving the drop, however, and will look to silence their critics with a good performance against Leverkusen. As usual, Mirko Slomka’s squad is plagued by injuries: Vinicius, Jan Rosenthal, Salvatore Zizzo, Leon Andreasen, Altin Lala, Elson, Didier Ya Konan, Jacek Krzynowek, Mikael Forssell and Arouna Kone have all been ruled out of contention for lack of fitness. Constant Djakpa also misses out with a one-match suspension.

Mainz – Eintracht Frankfurt

Consecutive wins against Dortmund and Hamburg have seen Mainz advance to a position just one point behind Frankfurt, and a spot in the top half of the league table. The in-form club will be keen to finish ninth or better in their return to first division football, and will surely be geared up for this weekend’s match. Dimo Wache, Tim Hoogland, Jan Kirchhoff, Zsolt Loew and Elkin Soto are all set to miss out on this weekend’s clash due to various injuries.

Once positioned in the relative nosebleed region of seventh place, Frankfurt have slipped up, and are now all but eliminated from contention for a Europa League spot. Michael Skibbe’s side will still look to put on a good performance nonetheless. Skibbe will be short of Aleksandar Vasoski, Zlatan Bajramovic, Christoph Spycher, Ioannis Amantidis, Caio and Marcel Titsch-Rivero, all of whom are unfit to play.

Werder Bremen – Koeln

Werder had to come from behind twice against Wolfsburg, but won last week’s tie 4-2, propelling Thomas Schaaf’s side to third place in the league. With tough matches against Schalke and Hamburg looming on the horizon, Werder cannot afford to drop points this weekend. As he prepares his squad for this weekend’s match, Schaaf is forced to leave suspended midfielder Tim Borowski out of his plans.

Koeln, and Zoran Tosic in particular, are finishing this year strongly. The Serbian winger has netted four times in three matches, and his club have won three of their last four. The Westphalian side will prove to be a form check for Werder, who have also impressed of late. Having collected injuries, Pierre Wome, Kevin Pezzoni, Christopher Schorch and Adil Chihi are set to miss out on the action this Saturday.

Hoffenheim – Hamburg

Vedad Ibisevic earned a late point for Hoffenheim in last week’s 1-1 draw with Dortmund, a rare positive result for the Sinsheim outfit. Coach Ralf Rangnick will have more options to choose from against Hamburg than he has in recent weeks, but will still be short of Matthias Jaissle, Demba Ba, Per Nilsson, Andreas Ibertsberger and Kevin Conrad.

In recent weeks, Hamburg have been a wreck domestically, leaving Bruno Labbadia’s side with very slim odds of returning to Europa League play next year. Nearly half the Hamburg squad has been linked with transfers and their injury list includes key figures Marcell Jansen, Mladen Petric and Eljero Elia. To boot, Jose Paolo Guerrero is suspended for the rest of the season. Indeed, Labbadia may have to pull off a miracle if his team is to take three points this weekend.

Freiburg – Wolfsburg

In their first season since promotion, Freiburg are now set to drop back down to the 2. Bundesliga. Only goal difference separates Robin Dutt’s side from survival, however, meaning that even a point could put the struggling debutants back into a safe position, at least for a week. Dutt will have to do without Hamed Namouchi, but will otherwise have a full squad to choose from.

As the season approaches its end, Wolfsburg are improving but continue to show a degree of inconsistency. Currently four points from a European berth, the defending champions cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to play in next year’s Europa League. Coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner will have a full squad to choose from this weekend.


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