Just four Bundesliga matchdays remain, and while the top four have all but been decided, there's a dogfight at the bottom. Meanwhile Hoffenheim vie with Dortmund for seventh place and a possible spot in Europe.
When the two sides meet in Sinsheim on Saturday, Borussia Dortmund will look to continue their efforts to send off Jürgen Klopp with a smile after a season of turmoil. Hoffenheim want to further their pursuit of a first foray into the world of European club football.
In 2008, shortly after taking over Dortmund, Jürgen Kloppsaid , "To be the best, you must beat the best." Klopp lived up to that statement on various ocassions and once again delivered on Tuesday evening.
"I'm going to miss everything about Borussia Dortmund, but right now I'm not sad," said Klopp at his press conference on Thursday. "We have to think about these last four games, they are all finals."
BVB can qualify for the Europa League by winning the German Cup. If they lose to Wolfsburg in the final, a seventh-placed finish in the Bundesliga would also suffice. Hoffenheim currently occupy that spot. The software-financed club has improved every season under coach Markus Gisdol, who just signed a new contract. And he's focused on bringing European football to Sinsheim.
"It's great when to be establoished in the Bundesliga, and it would be a dream to reach the Europa League," Gisdol said in an interview with the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung. "Hopefully our stadium will be at a boil!"
Six-pointer at Freiburg
Each of the remaining matchdays least one fixture between the five teams still battling against the drop. This weekend, Freiburg host Paderborn. After a dream start in the first half of the season, with saw Andre Breitenreiter's side sitting 10th over the winter break, Paderborn has dropped into the bottom three and is now fighting for its Bundesliga life.
Two wins in 13 games, of which eight were defeats, has Paderborn where many expected it to be throughout the season. Freiburg, too, have been struggling. Christian Streich's team sat bottom of the league over the winter break and have only slightly improved since, with just four wins from 13 games. Last week a brace by loanee Nils Petersen rescued a point against fellow strugglers Stuttgart and lifted Freiburg two points clear of Paderborn.
Thus, their clash should be the first of many heated relegation battles as the season draws to a close.
Bundesliga matchday 31 fixtures: Schalke vs. Stuttgart, Wolfsburg vs. Hannover, Augsburg vs. Cologne, Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen vs. Frankfurt, Frebiurg vs. Paderborn (Saturday) Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich (late Saturday), Mainz vs. Hamburg, Hertha Berlin vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach (Sunday)