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Looking Around the League: Vital Matches in the Top Four and Relegation Fights

There was plenty of drama to go around at practically every end of the table.

Eintracht Frankfurt v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Do you want to know the single worst thing about the Bundesliga’s Monday games? The fact that I can’t finish these articles up on Sunday. There I was, ready to schedule the article, when I saw that I had to wait a whole 24 hours for Bayer Leverkusen to face TSG Hoffenheim on Monday, and all for what? A 0-0 draw with 0.41 expected goals between the two teams? Do you know how annoyed I was? Forget the fans, the players, the clubs, and the workers at the stadiums. Inconvenience to me, that’s the real crime.

Anyway, it was Matchday 28 in the Bundesliga, and from a neutral perspective, there were two key matches: one in the race for the Champions League, between Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt, and the other in the relegation battle between Mainz and FC Köln. The outcomes leave each club’s positions in the league anything but definitive: read further to find out!


Here are the results from Matchday 28 of the Bundesliga:

Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 SC Freiburg

Werder Bremen 1-4 RB Leipzig

Hertha Berlin 2-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 VFL Wolfsburg

Bayern Munich 1-1 Union Berlin

VFB Stuttgart 2-3 Borussia Dortmund

Schalke 1-0 Augsburg

FC Köln 2-3 Mainz 05

TSG Hoffenheim 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen


Schalke... won a game?

Schalke’s ineptitude has been truly shocking this season, so the fact that they managed to scrape out a win, only their second of the season, is very surprising. They won it in the most “Schalke way” possible: they were completely gifted a goal in the opening minutes after Augsburg keeper Rafal Gikiewicz spilled a cross right into the feet of Suat Serdar, who smashed it home. Augsburg also completely botched a potential equalizer when Marco Richter sent a would-be sitter flying over the crossbar later in the second half. Schalke somehow managed to hang on for a 1-0 victory, meaning they’re “only” 13 points from safety. In other words, even if they somehow manage to match their point totals from their entire season in their final six games, they’d still only be level with where their competitors are now.

The Relegation Battle Rages On

While Schalke’s fate might be sealed, the remaining squads that currently sit in the relegation zone could still plausibly fight their way out of their predicaments and remain in the Bundesliga for another year. Two of the clubs involved, Mainz 05 and FC Köln, faced each other with only two point separating the two teams. With a win, Köln could have leapfrogged Mainz and gone level with Hertha Berlin, whereas with a win, Mainz could have jumped over Hertha into 14th place.

The match was every bit the desperate scrap for survival that one would expect from two relegation contenders. Mainz got off to an early lead thanks to a goal from Jean-Paul Boëtius, but Köln stormed back with two goals to take a 2-1 lead. But Mainz managed to quickly equalize, before scoring a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Leandro Martins.

Frankfurt Edge Wolfsburg in Race for the Champions League

With a win over Borussia Dortmund last week, Eintracht Frankfurt put themselves in a position to practically guarantee a trip to the Champions League with a win against Wolfsburg, given their relatively light remaining schedule.

The game was absolutely bonkers. Wolfsburg took an early lead, only for Frankfurt to equalize two minutes later, and then took the lead in the 26th minute. While Wolfsburg would equalize just before the end of the half with a goal by Wout Weghorst, Frankfurt roared back during the second half with goals from André Silva and BVB alum Erik Durm, who managed to wriggle his way around a sprawl of diving and sliding Wolfsburg defenders before trickling a shot by Koen Casteels.

The game would narrow once again in the final 10 minutes, when Eintracht Frankfurt center back Tuta, while trying to knick away the ball from Weghorst, inadvertently launched a looping shot over Kevin Trapp and into his own net. Frankfurt were luckily able to survive the 4-3 scare.

With this result, it looks like Wolfsburg might be the target for BVB to dethrone in the race for the Champions League. They have a rougher set of matches against Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, and Borussia Dortmund still remaining.

Bayern Munich Draw Union Berlin 1-1

Ahead of a much more important match against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Bayern Munich faced Union Berlin and dropped two points, keeping the title race technically alive. With six games remaining in the season, and a pair of potentially tough matches against Leverkusen and Wolfsburg for Bayern to play, the Meisterschale isn’t a formality just yet.

RB Leipzig sit five points behind the Bavarians, and could still squeeze through if they win out and Bayern drop enough points. To do so, they would have to beat Wolfsburg and BVB, a pair of touch matches for them as well.

Your Thoughts

Which relegation contenders will survive the race? Which of Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg presents the better target for BVB? Do RB Leipzig have a chance, or is the title race decided? Let us know your thoughts below!