By Sammy Wejinya
The 2021-22 Bundesliga season is entering the decisive phase as the German top flight is slowly but surely heading to the finish line.
League leaders, Bayern Munich were in supreme form on the continent in midweek, smashing RB Salzburg 7-1.
The Bavarians will look to replicate that form on the domestic front, even as they will have the opportunity to go at least 12 points clear at the summit of the standings – if all results concerning their perspective go their way – when they make the trip to Sinsheim to face fourth-placed 1899 Hoffenheim.
Saturday’s contest at PreZero Arena has all the qualities to be a cracker. The hosts are in a tighy battle for the top four qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League – specifically fourth spot – while Julian Nagelsmann’s visiting charges are eyeing yet another Bundesliga crown.
Nagelsmann’s Bayern are unbeaten in five games in all competitions while Hoffenheim are also in good form, having recorded four wins on the bounce.
Keep an eye for goals in this fixture as the last nine games between the pair has seen three or more goals scored with the both sides scoring in seven of those ties.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund are nine points behind Bayern – although having played a game less due to the postponement of last week’s game against FSV Mainz 05. They will welcome 15th placed Arminia Bielefeld to the Signal Iduna Park on Sunday.
Marco Rose’s Dortmund side are yet to taste defeat in their last three outings in all competitions, netting nine times in those games and against relegation-battling Bielefeld, they look like strong favourites to pick the maximum points.
Dortmund are on a winning streak of four games against their opponents and they have not lost in seven. Also, Rose has beaten Bielefeld’s Frank Kramer on the two occasions they have met.
Although their inconsistencies this season has been a major problem, Sunday’s task against their struggling visitors should be a minor task – on paper.
LEVERKUSEN WILL BE FULL OF CONFIDENCE
However, just before Dortmund and Bielefeld lock horns, third-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen will square off against eighth-placed FC Köln at BayArena in what is the first game of the day.
Leverkusen came out with a credible point in last week’s visit to table-topping Bayern and they will look to build on that result this week.
Gerardo Seoane’s team – who have scored three or more goals in eight of their last nine games – are also in the hunt to pick a Champions League ticket as they are four points off fifth-place.
Against Köln, they have also had their number in the recent games as they are yet to lose to Sunday’s opponents in four games.
Fifth-placed RasenBallsport Leipzig will travel to face bottom placed SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
Leipzig are also involved in the chase for Champions League football next season but they are two points behind fourth-placed Hoffenheim.
FURTH MAY BE POTENTIAL BANANA SKIN FOR LEIPZIG
Having been given a bye and free passage to the UEFA Europa League quarter final after European football’s governing body banned Spartak Moscow and all other Russian teams, Leipzig – who are unbeaten in seven games in all competitions – had no midweek fixture to worry about.
They will now visit a Greuther Fürth team – who are winless in three games – in fresh conditions.
Fürth have been poor this season. They have won just three games all season, recording two of those in their last six games. Also, they will fancy their chances at home this weekend as all of their wins this campaign has come at their home turf.
Recent head-to-head sees Leipzig as the favourites as they have not lost to Fürth in their last five games.
Sixth-placed SC Freiburg are level on points with Leipzig and they are als eyeing a ticket to trade tackles with Europe’s elite.
Freiburg will entertain 12th placed VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.
STERN TEST FOR FREIBURG
Freiburg are currently on a five-game unbeaten run but a tie against a Wolfsburg side who have lost just once in their last five games, winning three in the process, will most definitely be a stern test for their ambitious aspirations.
Seventh-placed Union Berlin will host 17th placed VfB Stuttgart.
This contest is a tale of two struggling sides. Union’s drastic fall on the log is due to recording just one win in their last five Bundesliga games while relegation-battling Stuttgart registered their first win last week after previously going nine games without picking maximum points.
Both teams also love to ship in goals as Union are yet to keep a clean sheet in their last six games while Stuttgart, in their last eight but Union are slightly favoured as the favourites in this game as they are yet to lose this fixture in their last five meetings.
10th placed Eintracht Frankfurt will host 11th placed VfL Bochum on Sunday.
Both sides are separated a place and two points on the log. Also, preventing the ball from entering their net has been an issue for both these teams.
ALL TO PLAY FOR AT THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE TABLE
Frankfurt are yet to keep a clean sheet in their last six games while Bochum have also been unable to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 games.
A game with serious relegation repercussions goes down at Borussia Park on Saturday evening as 13th placed Borussia Möchengladbach welcome 16th placed Hertha BSC.
Hertha are currently occupying the relegation/promotion spot with 23 points while Möchengladbach are four points above them with 27.
Both teams have been woeful recently.
Möchengladbach are yet to win a game in three as they are also yet to keep a clean sheet in 15 games.
Meanwhile, Hertha have lost three consecutive games, they are winless in nine games and they have not kept a clean sheet in seven games but they have not lost to Möchengladbach in their last three meetings.
Bundesliga Matchday 26 Fixtures
Saturday, March 12, 2022
1899 Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich – 3:30pm
SC Freiburg vs VfL Wolfsburg – 3:30pm
Union Berlin vs VfB Stuttgart – 3:30pm
Union Berlin vs VfB Stuttgart – 3:30pm
Borussia Möchengladbach vs Hertha BSC – 6:30pm
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs FC Köln – 3:30pm
Borussia Dortmund vs Arminia Bielefeld – 5:30pm
Eintracht Frankfurt vs VfL Bochum – 5:30pm
SpVgg Greuther Fürth vs RasenBallsport Leipzig – 7:30pm