Bundesliga: Crunch time for coaches, European race continues, Pizarro the savior | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 05.03.2016
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Bundesliga: Crunch time for coaches, European race continues, Pizarro the savior

Matchday 25 delivered 26 goals in six games as the Bundesliga was keen to show there aren't just two teams in Germany's top flight. The DW Sports team picks out the top three talking points from the matchday.

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Bundesliga Matchday 25 in 60 seconds

Decision time

The newspapers in Frankfurt labeled the home game against Ingolstadt as Armin Veh's "Endspiel", which can be translated as an end game, and after securing just a point, it looks like the end for Veh. Marco Russ' header shook the hosts into life but like their season, it wasn't enough to win the game. Pascal Groß was sent off but still Frankfurt couldn't get over the line. Under Veh though, they haven't been able to find form much all season and a draw against Ingolstadt likely won't be enough to keep Veh in a job. Frankfurt haven't won a game since matchday 18 and relegation is a very real possibility at the moment.

Koo Ja-Cheol scored a hat-trick against a depleted Leverkusen team, but the visitors still salvaged a point thanks to a last-minute penalty from Hakan Calhanoglu. While the length of Leverkusen's injury list suggests the point was a big one, Roger Schmidt's men have still endured a nightmare few weeks. Kampl, Kiessling, Tah and Bender are out, Bernd Leno's form has dipped worryingly and not even Chicharito could save them due to suspension. Schmidt's touchline ban was due to end after the trip to Augsburg, but the head coach didn't even make the trip. Schmidt swapped an afternoon in Germany for an evening in Spain scouting Leverkusen's Europa League opponents Villarreal. JH

Fußball 1. Bundesliga 1. FC Köln gegen FC Schalke 04

Schalke are in the running, but so are many other sides daring to play European football next season

Clueless about the top four

Pep Guardiola said the most important time of the season was the first three months and the last three. If the Bundesliga is anything to go by, you can have a good streak of results for three or four weeks and charge up the league table. For the sides that come into form in the last nine games, anything is possible.

Picking out any standout teams to qualify for the Champions League behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund is tough, though. Hertha Berlin have led the pack for most of the campaign, but a bumpy start to 2016 has narrowed the gap to fourth spot to a single point. Schalke, Mainz, Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Wolfsburg are just as inconsistent as each other.

Of those, it would be hard to exclude Mainz from the race. The win over Bayern Munich last week aside, the carnival club, who host Darmstadt at home on Sunday, have won five of their last six. Leverkusen, by contrast, are without a win in four and not even rescuing a draw in Augsburg with a last-minute penalty will be much consolation.

Perhaps that's just it: the Bundesliga lacks consistent quality outside of the top-two. The competitive balance is strong from third to mid-table and that makes the run-in for a place in the top four exhilarating for the neutral, but difficult for anyone trying to predict the final standings. RD

Fussball Bundesliga 25. Spieltag 05.03. 2016 Werder Bremen vs. Hannover 96

Claudio Pizarro delivered once again

You are never too old

It has been one of the best weeks in the illustrious career of Claudio Pizarro, which is saying something. The Bundesliga's fifth all-time top goalscorer, and highest scoring foreign player, will turn 38 later this year. But this week, he didn't look a day over 25.

After scoring a dramatic late equalizer against Darmstadt to steal a point last Saturday, the Peruvian striker added a hat-trick against Leverkusen on Wednesday. And on matchday 25, the Werder Bremen legend took a step closer to creating club history.

His goal was the 100th of his Bundesliga career for Werder, but the real moment to sit back and bask in the glory was evident in how Pizarro reached the century mark. With the ball in the air and two defenders closing in, a cute touch over his own head, and the defenders, opened up space for a shot on goal. He duly obliged, lacing the ball home.

Ten goals in nine games, 100 in the Bundesliga for his current club and with two more, he will become the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Proof that Pizarro was a gamble worth taking. AC

Matchday 25 results: Cologne 1-3 Schalke, Wolfsburg 2-1 Gladbach, Stuttgart 5-1 Hoffenheim, Augsburg 3-3 Leverkusen, Werder Bremen 4-1 Hannover, Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Ingolstadt

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