Soccer

Bundesliga Week 33 Preview: Battle for Europa League Positioning Highlights Weekend Fixtures

Bundesliga Preview Matchday 33 Marc-Andre ter Stegen

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Although not mathematically correct, the only thing left to decide in the Bundesliga is positioning. The teams in danger of relegation seem set. Positioning for teams from fourth to seventh place currently could change. The fourth place spot is a coveted Champions League qualifying spot that potentially means a lot more money for the club.

The Bundesliga doesn’t have the drama of the other big European leagues, but there are still plenty of teams hoping to move up in the table.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Mainz

Gladbach sits one point ahead of Mainz with both teams seemingly secured of a Europa League qualifying position. However, the sixth-place team will enter in the  playoff round while the seventh-place team will have to survive an extra round to make the group stages. The seventh-place team became eligible for the Europa League since the teams in the DFB Pokal Final have qualified for the Champions League.

Mainz has lost three of their last four away matches while Gladbach has been the third-best team at home in the league this season. Mainz has been able to generate offense on the road, but unable to sustain the defensive pressure. These teams played to a scoreless draw in December.

Nurnberg vs. Hannover

This will be Nurnberg’s best chance to move into the relegation playoff spot. Unfortunately, they have lost nine of the last 10 matches, including five in a row. Hannover is unbeaten in the last three matches, but is coming off an uninspiring goalless draw. Nurnberg has only earned 14 points at home with Hannover securing just 10 on the road. The teams are averaging less than a goal in this situation.

Timothy Chandler returned to the lineup for Nurnberg last week for the first time since February. He played half of the match and expects to be back in the lineup this week.

Stuttgart vs. Wolfsburg

There is a lot on the line for these teams. Stuttgart can clinch safety in the Bundesliga with a win. Wolfsburg is only one point back of a Champions League qualifying spot. Both have tougher matchups next week, making this week a make or break matchup. It is a good matchup of form as Stuttgart is unbeaten in their last three.

Wolfsburg has won four of their last six. However, Stuttgart has conceded a goal in almost 90 percent of their home matches this season. Wolfsburg has scored in their last 24 matches, and have won four of their last five matchups with Stuttgart.

Predictions

Dortmund 3 – Hoffenheim 0
Gladbach 2 — Mainz 2
Leverkusen 2 – Frankfurt 1
Bayern Munich 1 – Hamburg 0
Hannover 2 — Nurnberg 0
Schalke 4 – Freiburg 1
Augsburg 2 – Braunschweig 0
Wolfsburg 2 — Stuttgart 2
Hertha Berlin 1 – Werder Bremen 1

Douglas Smith is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DFresh39, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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