Bottom of the pile, level on points, separated by goal difference, Hamburg and Koln are both on the cusp of relegation. Like a couple walking hand-in-hand and striding off to the sunset, both sides look like fading out of the picture soon. Both teams have had long barren runs, and have changed managers, relegation looks in sight.
But with the newest match week comes perhaps a glimmer of hope, a chance to open a window of opportunity and optimism, however small. For Hamburg, it’s a home game against Mainz, the side directly above them and Koln, ahead of them by seven points. A win here though, and Die Rothosen would have closed the gap to four, their win drought would be over, and Bernd Hollerbach and his side would have found a new sense of belief.
For Koln, it’s a game with a side not quite directly above them, but one who, until three weeks ago, was lodged in the thick of the relegation dogfight. Three straight 1-0 wins for Stuttgart have seen them go 13 points clear of the automatic demotion spots, as they have resuscitated themselves under Tayfun Korkut. But while a win for Koln wouldn’t exactly bridge the gap, it would generate more momentum, following the Rhein club’s win at Leipzig last week.
Wins this weekend might just change the picture of the bottom third of the league and the minds of both struggling teams. A defeat, is next to unthinkable. Lose here, and the curtains might just fall.
Elsewhere, the ever-growing field of interest will continue when Dortmund travel to Leipzig on Saturday. Die Schwarzgelben re-affirmed their stance against Red Bull sponsorship by banning half-and-half scarves for their European game against Salzburg. Expect some jeers from both crowds during game time.
Frankfurt look to get a firm grip on the top four when they host Hannover, Bayern Munich travel to Freiburg on Sunday, Wolfsburg look to alleviate their relegation troubles when they host fifth-placed Leverkusen, while the weekend action begins with Borussia Monchengladbach playing host to Werder Bremen.
Bundesliga Week 25 Fixtures
Borussia Monchengladbach v Werder Bremen
Freiburg v Werder Bremen
Hamburg v Mainz
Koln v Stuttgart
Wolfsburg v Leverkusen
Frankfurt v Hannover
RB Leipzig v Dortmund
Schalke v Hertha BSC
Augsburg v Hoffenheim