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Looking Around the League: The Top Four Race Narrows

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The Champions League race tightens and Schalke continue to struggle on and off the pitch

VfB Stuttgart v FC Schalke 04 - Bundesliga Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

It was another good weekend for Borussia Dortmund. A solid performance and a win, as well as several teams around them dropping points.

Results

Here are the results from Round 23 of the Bundesliga season:

Werder Bremen 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern Munich 5-1 FC Koln

VfB Stuttgart 5-1 Schalke

Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Arminia Bielefeld

Wolfsburg 2-0 Hertha Berlin

RB Leipzig 3-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

Union Berlin 1-1 Hoffenheim

Mainz 0-1 Augsburg

Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Freiburg

Standings

The Race for Top Four is Narrowing

The good news for Borussia Dortmund is the competition for the Champions League places is starting to thin out a little bit, and they’re still in the race. Bayer Leverkusen, Union Berlin, and Borussia Monchengladbach all dropped points, and BVB have closed the gap on fourth place after Frankfurt lost to Werder Bremen. Borussia are only three points behind Frankfurt now, and six points behind Wolfsburg in third place.

While it would be easy to write off Leverkusen and Gladbach at this point, especially given the former’s rough form recently, they’re not far behind, and there has been so much chaos this season, so I think it would be foolish to assume they’re out of it.

Nonetheless, BVB have the advantage, and it is quickly turning into a scrap with Frankfurt for that fourth spot. The two will face each other at Westfalenstadion on 3rd April, in what could prove to be a huge game in the fight for Champions League qualification.

Schalke’s Collapse Continues

Schalke’s remarkable self-destruction continues to gain speed off the pitch, with reports that the players are in open revolt and all the coaching staff being sacked, but things are looking no better on the pitch either. Schalke were handed another thumping loss, this time to Stuttgart. The newly promoted Swabian side hammered Schalke 5-1 (imagine losing 5-1 to Stuttgart, how embarrassing!), to add to their fast-growing list of woes.

Schalke now sit 9 points off safety, and while it isn’t a mathematical certainty that they will be relegated, it is an inevitability that even the most optimistic fan would not deny. At this point, they’re probably more concerned with preparing for live in the second tier of German football, and with the way things are going right now, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them struggle there too.

I know it’s all good and fun to laugh at the demise of your rivals, but I think it’s really sad to see such a storied club turn to sewage like this, and any relegation is hard on fans. I think the league will suffer for their absence, and so will Borussia Dortmund. I hope they find some stability and start to right the ship soon.

Your Thoughts?

Is this the most dramatic decline in German football history? And how does this compare with teams that have fallen on terrible times in other leagues (and sports)? Let us know your thoughts.