Bundesliga: Top five talking points from Matchday 31 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 29.04.2017
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Bundesliga: Top five talking points from Matchday 31

Bayern Munich may have captured the headlines this weekend, but there are plenty of other topics. The race for third is hotting up as Hoffenheim reach the UCL and time could be running out for a Bundesliga evergreen.

Champions League new faces

With off-color Cologne coming to town, Borussia Dortmund had a chance to bury Hoffenheim in their quest to secure a third place finish. That opportunity slipped through their fingers as they were unable to break down Peter Stöger's blockade. It wasn't for a lack of trying - they recorded 23 shots in the game, five of which came from the in-form Marco Reus. The dropped points started to look even more careless after Hoffenheim snatched a last-gasp winner against Frankfurt on Sunday. That victory meant Hoffenheim are assured Champions League football next season for the first time in their history. And with RB Leipzig already having qualified, Germany will have two brand new representatives at Europe's top table next season. Next week, Dortmund host Hoffenheim in what is shaping up to be a winner-takes-all clash to decide who gets through automatically and who has to go through qualifying.

Read: Last-gasp Hoffenheim down Frankfurt

Ingolstadt have Hasenhüttl's number

Poaching coach Ralph Hasenhüttl from Ingolstadt was arguably the best move RB Leipzig completed in the summer. Ironically, Ingolstadt will be one of potentially two teams - Bayern Munich being the other - to score points against Leipzig in both of their league fixtures this season. Ingolstadt's 1-0 win last December ended an eight-game winning streak for Leipzig, and their scoreless draw on Saturday became the result that handed Bayern the league title. Unfortunately for Ingolstadt, Leipzig have been just as generous to many other teams trying to avoid relegation, so the point they collected this weekend may not prevent them from going down.

Read: Bayern briefly savor the one that didn't get away

The drop not discouraging Darmstadt

1. Bundesliga SV Darmstadt 98 v SC Freiburg (Getty Images/Bongarts/S. Hofmann)

Darmstadt surrounds Jerome Gondorf (middle) after his first half goal

For a team that looked all but sure to be relegated, Darmstadt are not going down without a fight. Their 3-0 victory was the third on the bounce for the Lillies, and they have scored nine goals in their last four games. Many factors still have to fall in Darmstadt's favor for them to avoid outright relegation: A continued losing streak from Augsburg is their best chance at survival, and of course they'd need all nine points from the next three games as well. But even if they go down, Darmstadt can go into next season with the belief that they belong back in the top flight.

Read: Dortmund and Leipzig held, Darmstadt win again

Who wants to qualify for Europe?

After their fifth loss in seven games, Hertha Berlin are becoming a poster club for how mediocre the Bundesliga mid-table can be. Their 2-0 loss to Werder Bremen was their ninth in 2017, tied with Darmstadt for the most in the German top flight. Yet they remain in fifth place because teams below them - namely Cologne, Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt - have been just as bad if not worse. Hertha remain in a strong position to qualify for the Europa League group stage, but their underwhelming second-half form does not provide an encouraging forecast for next season. Werder, on the other hand, have gone from battling relegation to pole position for the Europa League in just a matter of weeks.

Fußball Bundesliga Hamburger SV - FC Augsburg (Imago)

Hamburg are headed for trouble after a desolate performance in Augsburg

Come in Hamburg, your time is up

Hamburg are incredibly proud of the fact they are the only side to have played in every Bundesliga season. So proud in fact that a large clock at the Volksparkstadion details the just how long the club have spent in Germany's top flight, down to the precise second. But time could finally be running out. A third straight league defeat on Matchday 31 sent the northern giants plummeting back to the relegation playoff spot. And the manner of the loss is a real cause for concern. Hamburg offered little in the way of resistance as they were crushed 4-0. Two of their remaining three fixtures are against direct rivals but on this evidence, Hamburg are heading for a third relegation playoff in four years.

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