Five things on of­fer in Bun­desliga

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BER­LIN: Bay­ern Mu­nich and RB Leipzig meet in a top-of-thetable clash, un­rest rat­tles Borus­sia Dort­mund while the bat­tle to avoid rel­e­ga­tion rages on.

Here are five things to look for in the Bun­desliga to­day:

RALPH

Hasen­huettl says his RB Leipzig have a score to set­tle at home to Bay­ern Mu­nich.

Sec­ond-placed Leipzig were drubbed 3-0 in Mu­nich last De­cem­ber and want re­venge at the Red Bull Arena.

Both RB and 2016/17 Bun­desliga win­ners Bay­ern have qual­i­fied for next sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League, but pride is at stake.

“There couldn’t be a bet­ter op­po­nent to mo­ti­vate us and to set­tle a score from the first match,” said Hasen­huettl.

“They will want to demon­strate their supremacy and will cer­tainly be at their best.”

Leipzig hope to have de­fender Willi Or­ban fit af­ter an an­kle in­jury.

Bay­ern will field third-choice goal­keeper Tom Starke with Manuel Neuer (foot) and Sven Ul­re­ich (el­bow in­jured), while de­fender Javi Martinez is out with a frac­tured col­lar­bone.

BORUS­SIA

Dort­mund are at Augs­burg with spec­u­la­tion rag­ing that head coach Thomas Tuchel may quit at the end of the sea­son.

CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said their re­la­tion­ship is strained over the de­ci­sion to play their Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-fi­nal first-leg a day af­ter a bomb at­tack on their team bus last month.

Tuchel, 43, com­plained af­ter the 3-2 de­feat by Monaco that he had not been in­volved in the de­ci­sion “at all“, but Watzke has said that is not true.

“The rumours are spread­ing, but I’m not com­ment­ing on them at the mo­ment, be­cause I am con­cen­trat­ing with my team on the last few weeks,” said Tuchel, who has a con­tract un­til June 2018.

Third-placed Dort­mund must beat Augs­burg in their quest for a di­rect Cham­pi­ons League place as they are two points ahead of Hof­fen­heim.

BOTH

teams are in the run­ning for Euro­pean places when Werder Bre­men host Hof­fen­heim.

Fourth-placed Hof­fen­heim lag be­hind Dort­mund in their hunt for a Cham­pi­ons League place.

Bre­men, eighth, are just a point from a Europa League spot — an amaz­ing turn around hav­ing been one place off the rel­e­ga­tion places in mid March.

“We have achieved our big goal, any­thing else is just sen­sa­tional,” said head coach Alexan­der Nouri, who is re­lieved to keep Bre­men up.

Werder have dead-ball ex­pert Zlatko Junuzovic and vet­eran striker Clau­dio Pizarro fit again af­ter miss­ing train­ing on Wed­nes­day.

AF­TER

nar­rowly avoid­ing the dreaded drop in 2014 and 2015, this is the third time in six years that Ham­burg are bat­tling rel­e­ga­tion.

They are the only team in Ger­many’s top tier to have never been rel­e­gated from the Bun­desliga.

“De­spite the sit­u­a­tion we have to trust our­selves and not just boot the ball up­field,” said Ham­burg’s ex-Ger­many mid­fielder Aaron Hunt.

With two games left, the rel­e­ga­tion fight will go to the wire.

In­gol­stadt, who have 30 points, are 17th, an au­to­matic rel­e­ga­tion spot, and are four points be­hind Ham­burg in 16th place, which car­ries a two-legged rel­e­ga­tion play-off at the end of the sea­son.

And Mainz, 15th, are level on 34 points with Ham­burg, but out of the rel­e­ga­tion places on goal dif­fer­ence.

HEAD

coach Torsten Frings is de­mand­ing bot­tom-side Darm­stadt go out with a bang when they host sixth-placed Hertha Ber­lin in their last Bun­desliga home match be­fore rel­e­ga­tion.

Last weekend’s 1-0 de­feat at Bay­ern con­firmed Darm­stadt’s drop.

Pal Dar­dai’s Ber­lin must beat Darm­stadt to stay on course for a Europa League place, but Frings has other ideas.

“Of course, there will be sad­ness and it will be an emo­tional game, but like in the last few weeks, we will give it our all and give noth­ing away,” in­sisted the ex-Ger­many mid­fielder.

“We have al­ready shown we can beat teams at that level,” he added af­ter wins over Schalke, Ham­burg and Freiburg in April

TO­DAY:

Lev­erkusen v Cologne, Schalke v Ham­burg, Mainz v Frank­furt, Wolfs­burg v M’glad­bach, Augs­burg v Dort­mund, Bre­men v Hof­fen­heim, Darm­stadt v Ber­lin, Freiburg v In­gol­stadt, Leipzig v Bay­ern.

Leipzig coach Ralph Hassen­huettl (third from left) and his play­ers want to avenge their loss to Bay­ern Mu­nich when they meet at the Red Bull Arena to­day.

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