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Bundesliga title race heats up yet further as we head into Matchday 28

Published at :April 14, 2023 at 12:33 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Bundesliga)

Khel Now

Thomas Tuchel’s FC Bayern München will have to contend with a resurgent TSG Hoffenheim while Borussia Dortmund face a VfB Stuttgart side scrapping for survival

Only two points separate league leaders Bayern and second-placed Dortmund with seven games left in the season, meaning the pressure is increasing with each passing week.

Bayern were on the road at Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in midweek, so Tuchel will be hoping that won’t have taken too much out of his team. The defending Bundesliga champions will likely need to be at their best in Munich on Saturday afternoon. Hoffenheim – led by US coach Pellegrino Matarazzo – have powered clear of the relegation zone by winning three games on the bounce.

Matarazzo kept Stuttgart in the top flight last season and he appears to be working his magic again after being appointed by Hoffenheim in February. They beat bottom side FC Schalke 04 2-0 last time out and Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric – who has three goals in his last three games – will be looking for his fourth career win over Bayern.

The home side, meanwhile, had an unlikely matchwinner last week when centre-back Matthijs De Ligt’s thunderous strike gave them a 1-0 victory at SC Freiburg.

Dortmund also got a crucial win against a top team on Super Saturday. They edged third- placed 1. FC Union Berlin 2-1 at home, with teenager Youssoufa Moukoko coming off the bench to grab the winner in the 79th minute. The Germany forward – who became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer at 16 years of age – has now set another record. The 18-year-old not only got his eighth league goal of the campaign but he also became the youngest player ever to reach 50 appearances in the German top flight.

With Moukoko, skipper Marco Reus, Julian Brandt – now tied to the club till 2026 – and England midfielder Jude Bellingham to call on, Dortmund will be favoured to get their 19th win of the campaign on Saturday. They will be wary, though, given that last week Stuttgart won 3-2 at VfL Bochum 1848 to climb from last place to third from bottom in the table.

Matchday 28 will kick off on Friday night with a relegation six-pointer in Gelsenkirchen, where basement club Schalke will take on second-bottom Hertha Berlin. The home team have not won in four while Hertha have failed to win in five - so both sides need to improve quickly if they are to stay in the division.

In Saturday’s other fixtures fourth-placed RB Leipzig host FC Augsburg while midtable 1. FC Köln play in-form European hopefuls 1.FSV Mainz 05. Seventh-placed Eintracht Frankfurt and their star striker Randal Kolo Muani then take on 10th-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach that evening.

On Sunday, fifth-placed Freiburg will try to break back into the Champions League spots by shutting out SV Werder Bremen and the league’s leading goalscorer Niclas Füllkrug, while Union will look to stay in the top four by beating Bochum at home.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen, with former Liverpool and Bayern midfielder Xabi Alonso in charge, are the form team in the Bundesliga. With teen sensation Florian Wirtz pulling the strings they are up to sixth after winning five in a row, and they’ll be out to keep that momentum going away to VfL Wolfsburg in Sunday’s late kick-off.

In Bundesliga 2, meanwhile, fifth-placed Fortuna Düsseldorf will put their promotion hopes on the line against league leaders SV Darmstadt 98 on Sunday. On the same day, fourth-placed FC St. Pauli and American-born head coach Fabian Hürzeler will be targeting an incredible 11th consecutive win. Meanwhile second-placed Hamburger SV have a tricky tie at 1.FC Kaiserslautern on Saturday.