We remain focused on the Bundesliga this weekend, where four matchdays remain and positions are starting to be finalized, relegation is looming ever more threateningly, and the pressure of every match is clear. There will be five Bundesliga matches of USMNT significance broadcast nationally in the United States, along with two additional games on Fox’s more exclusive packages with significant European or relegation implications.
Hoffenheim v RB Leipzig - 1:30p on FS2
Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig have a three point advantage in securing a Champions League birth over Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach who are tied with 56 points. Leipzig could have pulled five points clear in the race for the European competition, but playing with ten men for half the match after Dayot Upamecano was sent off, the team gave up a goal at the death against last place SC Paderborn last weekend. Tyler Adams started the match in a central midfield role and played the full 90, but was moved to right back as the team shifted things around following the loss of their central defender. The team’s pattern since the return to break has seen Adams start every other match while coming on for 30+ minutes when he begins on the bench.
This weekend, the team will face Hoffenheim, who are currently in seventh place, within two points of Wolfsburg for Europa League qualification. Hoffenheim have picked up eight points over the past four weeks thanks to a soft schedule that has seen them face three of the bottom four and 12th place FC Köln.
Fortuna Düsseldorf v Borussia Dortmund - 9:30a on FS1
Fortuna Düsseldorf and Alfredo Morales seemingly have more to play for on Saturday given their tenuous position in the relegation battle. Currently, Düsseldorf sit in 16th place, which is the relegation playoff spot. The team is 3 points behind Mainz 05 for guaranteed safety and 3 points ahead of Werder Bremen for guaranteed relegation to the second division. Morales came off the bench last weekend and played 24 minutes in the team’s 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim, who played nearly the entire match down a man. Zack Steffen is reportedly close to a return for Düsseldorf, but it remains to be seen if the team (perhaps with some “advice” from parent club Manchester City) will bring him back down the stretch or let him ride out the season to avoid any potential aggravation.
Düsseldorf’s opponent this weekend is second place Borussia Dortmund, who currently sit 7 points behind Bayern Munich for first place and 7 points ahead of ‘Gladbach and Leverkusen for 5th place. While not mathematically eliminated from either direction, such a move would be shocking and their fate could be determined this weekend. Giovanni Reyna continues to look for that first start, and it would be a bit surprising if he doesn’t see one down the stretch. Still, he continues to see regular minutes which, in and of itself, is a significant accomplishment for a 17-year-old at one of the top clubs in Germany.
Hertha Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt - 9:30a on FS2
Timothy Chandler started and went 90 minutes for Eintracht Frankfurt in their midweek loss to Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the dfb Pokal. Chandler came off the bench last weekend in the teams 0-2 loss to Mainz. The team has little to play for down the stretch, being 10 points from European qualification and 10 points above relegation. Chandler has seen a consistent role with the club in the second half of the season, though lately the starting opportunities have been more difficult to come by.
Eintracht faces Hertha Berlin this weekend, who are 3 points ahead of them and sit at 9th in the table. Seven points back of Wolfsburg, Hertha also seem unlikely to make a move for the Euro spots, but the club had been on a very impressive stretch picking up 10 points in the first 4 games since resuming play before losing 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund last weekend.
Looking through the paywall:
- John Brooks and Wolfsburg look to solidify their Europa League position when they face a SC Freiburg team that is just four points behind them at 9:30a on Fox Soccer Plus.
- Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen face Paderborn at 9:30a on Fox Soccer Match Pass in a match that is absolutely critical if they are to avoid relegation.
Schalke 04 v Bayer Leverkusen - Noon on FS2
Weston McKennie missed Schalke’s 1-1 draw with Union Berlin last weekend due to yellow card accumulation. While a 1-1 draw with the 14th placed team might not seem significant, it did snap a four game losing streak for Schalke. It was just the team’s 5th point in their last 12 matches, and they are looking for their first win since January. The lack of results has seen Schalke drop from a European contender to 10th place. This won’t get any easier this weekend as they face fifth place Bayer Leverkusen, who are looking to crack the top four and a Champions League berth.
Let us know what you’re watching this weekend as the Bundesliga rolls on.