Despite it being Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich this weekend, there are far more pressing matters to attend to in the Bundesliga. Leverkusen versus HSV and Augsburg against Schalke hold much more significance.
Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich has arrived again, but despite this fixture holding great anticipation in the last decade, this year Der Klassiker means very little in reality. The game - like it's title - may well be a classic, but tenth versus (way out in front) first doesn't grab attention at this crucial stage of the season.
Whether it's Lothar Matthäus' cry-baby stunt on Andreas Möller, Oliver Kahn's kung-fu kick on Heiko Herrlich or Mario Götze's returning goal, there's always a big moment in this fixture. In terms of league importance though, for now it's limited. Bayern are ten points clear of Wolfsburg with 24 points to play with, whilst Dortmund are safe again, in tenth.
In reality, the title race has been Bayern's since the winter break but withrecent injury trouble
there could still be some suprises. If desperation, desire and determination to grab every point is what you want, then this won't be the game for you in Matchday 27.
Knäbel looks to save HSV
The Bundesliga has been known for superheroes this season. Their appearances have been in celebation though, whereas for HSV, a superhero rescue could be all that can save them from depair come May. The club's Sporting Director turned temporary head coachPeter Knäbel
is taking charge of his first game of the season on Saturday. A month without a victory leaves Hamburg in the same position as last season, tumbling towards a first Bundesliga relegation. Facing Bayer Leverkusen this weekend, doesn't help their fight.
A busy international break saw Rafael van der Vaart and Marcell Jansen be told their contracts won't be renewed. Heiko Westermann could be on his way too, with HSV showing desire to replace experience with youth in the coming seasons. However, if the old guard don't save them now, the youth products will be developing in the second division under a new coach next season. The big issue for HSV is scoring goals.
"We could play with two strikers," said Knäbel ahead of the match. "We need to have more of a presence and be more decisive in our opponent's penalty area."
Bayer Leverkusen is in an opposite position. The league's most in-form team at the moment has conceded just a single goal in seven competitive games, with the penalty shoot-out drama in the Champions League not dampening the players' spirits. Beating Schalke in Gelsenkirchen on March 21 proved that the Werkself's focus is still wired. A six-point cushion ahead of the Royal Blues is wide, yes, but Leverkusen are known for letting things slip at the end of the season. The worst attack faces one of the strongest defences with more than points on the line.
The Augsburg fairytale
Markus Weinzierl could be in line for the Bundesliga's Coach of the Year award this season. The club was in the equivalent of the third division just ten years ago, but regular progression has seen them climb up through the ranks and they are now sixth in the Bundesliga. Weinzierl joined the club in 2012, and has taken them to the next level.
"For us it is clear that things are going perfectly," Weinzierl told German football magazine "kicker" this week. "We are at our limit and we barely know ourselves how long we can play at this level."
Augsburg have never played in European competition and the club continues to say that they are happy to just stay in the Bundesliga. This weekend they face a team with vast experience at the elite level in Schalke, who is just one point ahead of them on the table. The Royal Blues have played in European competition for each of the last five seasons and they and Augsburg currently hold the two Europa League qualifying spots in the Bundesliga.
Both sides have been trying hard not to qualify recently though. Schalke have just one win in six domestically, whilst Augsburg have one win in seven fixtures. Now facing each other it's time for one team to put their hand up and play themselves towards Europe. Experience is key in these situations, but so is a desire to break new boundaries. Sunday's game sees two clubs with varied pasts going for the same goal
Bundesliga Matchday 27 fixtures
Freiburg vs. Cologne, Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach, Werder Bremen vs. Mainz, Frankfurt vs. Hannover, Wolfsburg vs. Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hamburg (all Saturday 13:30 UTC), Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich (late Saturday) Augsburg vs. Schalke (Sunday), Hertha BSC vs. Paderborn (Sunday)