Bundesliga Matchday 29: A chance for the chasing pack | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 06.04.2018
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Bundesliga Matchday 29: A chance for the chasing pack

With Bayern set to secure another title and a relegation six-pointer on Saturday, the attention is on each end of the Bundesliga this weekend. But Sunday could be pivotal for the teams chasing the European spots.

With six games remaining, Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Niko Kovac spoke plainly.

"We're now entering the business end of the season... We can't take our foot off the gas, otherwise other teams will overtake us. We do not want to let that happen." On Matchday 29, Kovac's words ring truer than ever as the teams occupying third to eighth play each other.

On Sunday afternoon, Borussia Dortmund host Stuttgart. Since the arrival of Tayfun Korkut, Stuttgart have become one of the form teams in the league and while they remain an outside shout for a European spot, the fact they're even in the conversation is a surprise. Playing a Dortmund side bereft of confidence after a 6-0 hiding in Munich, Stuttgart could end the weekend with 41 points, and potentially just four points off a European spot.

Dortmund are currently fragile, a word that head coach Peter Stöger even used in his press conference ahead of this weekend's fixture. It has been perhaps the most tumultuous 18 months in the club's history and with a distinct possiblity of being the odd one out when the inevitable coaching merry-go-round turns this summer, finishing in the top four is all the more important for Dortmund. 

The memory of this season and how the upcoming offseason is approached depends on it.

Deutschland Bundesliga Eintracht Frankfurt gegen FSV Mainz 05 (Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach)

Frankfurt have a difficult run-in as their look to secure European football for only the second time in 11 seasons.

Tailing off

After a disappointing defeat to Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt have work to do if they're to avoid their sensational season from tailing off at the end.

Six points from their last five games has hampered the multi-nationality team from Germany's business capital in their quiet push for Europe. A revived Hoffenheim are perhaps the worst opponents to have on the fixture list right now, but a win over Julian Nagelsmann's side would likely cement Frankfurt's European spot.

Then, with a run-in that includes trips to Munich, Leverkusen and Gelsenkirchen, it's up to them to decide which European competition they'll be in next season.

For Leverkusen, any European competition would be welcome after being out in the cold this season. Like Frankfurt, that early season promise has ebbed away after seven points from the last five games.

Their opponent this weekend is RB Leipzig, who have adjusted to playing in three competitions so well they might well finish in the top four again this season. The one thing in Leverkusen's favor this weekend is that Leipzig have just come off a Europa League quarterfinal against Marseille. With Jonathan Tah and Julian Brandt recently signing new deals, Heiko Herrlich has to make sure that Leverkusen shred that seemingly eternal runners-up tag.

These three fixtures offer a chance for the chasing pack. It's the opportunity for these teams to put some distance between themselves and their rivals, for young coaches to get the edge, but it's also a chance for the league. Beyond Bayern, much of the Bundesliga season has been a scrap for points. This weekend is the chance to start shrugging off the shackles of an inconsistent season.

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