There are two games left in the Bundesliga season and there are only two points between 14th and 18th. Further up the table, the battle for a Europa League spot is just as close. Matchday 33 promises to be a thriller.
With two games left in the 2014/15 Bundesliga season, the last five teams in the Bundesliga are separated by two points. It's the closest relegation fight in the history of the Bundesliga and this weekend, the league's penultimate matchday could decide the fate of some of the five clubs fighting for top-flight survival.
Stuttgart are bottom of the table, but are coming off a clean-sheet win against Mainz and have two six-pointers to finish their season. On the final matchday they travel to Paderborn, but this weekend they host a Hamburg side coached by their former coach, Bruno Labbadia. Incredibly, the game also fronts as a showdown between two head coaches, both of whom have saved the opponent from the drop in the past.
Clearly Hamburg have Bruno Labbadia to thank, but it's the performances of Gojko Kacar that have earned HSV four vital points across the last two matchdays. The 28-year-old Serbian might just have earned himself a new contract and if he can repeat his heroics on the weekend, he might have earned Hamburg's symbolic clock some new batteries.
Amid the smiles and jokes at Huub Stevens' press conference on Thursday, it was clear the Dutchman knows just how much is at stake. "It's about us. We are on the spot," said the head coach. Defeat and a victory for at least two of Freiburg, Hannover and Paderborn would see Stuttgart return to the second division for the first time in nearly 40 years.
When asked by a reporter whether his players had been banned from doing anything ahead of the weekend, Stevens replied with a smirk: "I've banned everything, they're only allowed to eat and drink. It's their wives I feel sorry for." This jovial side of the head coach was balanced out by outbursts on the training ground later in the day, when Stevens shouting, gesticulating and calling his players monkeys.
Relegation pep talk
"You talk about a B-team. I wouldn't like it if someone labelled me a B- or a C-type person." The latest offering from Freiburg's Christian Streich - the head coach's response to whether he would like to face Bayern Munich's A- or B-team this weekend - was a reminder of the kind of character that the Bundesliga could lose at the end of this season. Streich resonated confidence at the press conference on Thursday, and with good reason. Bayern have lost their last five competitive fixtures. Result or not, Streich knows that with a trip to Hannover on the final day of the season he hasn't run out of options just yet.
"Five years ago, things looked just as bad but we saved ourselves with two wins to finish," said Hannover defender Christian Schulz. Sadly, things weren't just as bad when it came to form. Hannover are on a 16-game winless streak and against Augsburg, a side trying to cement a Europa League spot, the negative run looks set to continue.
Things cannot continue the way they have done for Schalke. After a tumultuous week in which sporting director Horst Heldt threw out Sidney Sam and Kevin-Prince Boateng, a win is the only option for Schalke this weekend. The problem for Roberto di Matteo's side is that they are hosting Paderborn, who are scrapping for every point possible. On top of that, Schalke might have to do without any support after the club's fans threatened stadium silence for the first half (the second half is performance dependent, apparently).
Elsewhere, Wolfsburg host Borussia Dortmund in what both clubs have said is not a dress rehersal for the German Cup final. Wolfsburg's sporting director Klaus Allofs said the two games were "a different pair of shoes", while Jürgen Klopp said he was unlikely not to cry this weekend but couldn't promise the same for when Dortmund host Werder Bremen at Signal Iduna Park on the final day of the season.
Borussia Mönchengladbach can secure automatic Champions League qualification with just a point against Werder Bremen.
Matchday 33 fixtures (all Saturday): Stuttgart vs. Hamburg, Freiburg vs. Bayern, Augsburg vs. Hannover, Schalke vs. Paderborn, Wolfsburg vs. Dortmund, Leverkusen vs. Hoffenheim, Werder Bremen vs. Gladbach, Mainz vs. Cologne, Hertha vs. Eintracht Frankfurt