Terry Duffelen
Mon 26 April 2010

Bundesbag Week 32 - Bayern leave a crack in the door

On the surface, the Bundesliga title race wide open. However, scratch away at the veneer and in reality, the latest round of results have only delayed the inevitable.

League leaders Bayern Munich travelled to Borussia Monchengladbach with the Wednesday's Champions League semi final on their minds. They looked subdued and nervous. 'Gladbach on the other hand were determined, organised and up for some party pooping. On 60 minutes they took the lead with a cracking strike from the excellent Marco Reus.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, second placed Schalke were looking for a win to keep themselves in the hunt. One can imagine the tension inside the Olympic Stadium as the Gelsenkirchen club looked for a goal while the home side, Hertha, struggled for their Bundesliga lives. Eventually a goal came, from Heiko Westermann of Schalke. The relief for Felix Magath's players was a copious as the despair for Hertha who need more than a miracle if they are to avoid a local derby with Union Berlin in .2 Bundesliga next season.

Back in Monchengladbach, Bayern managed an equaliser through Miro Klose which keeps them top on goal difference. Had they lost then the climax to the season may be even more interesting. As it is, the Munich club know that two wins will see them home. Their final two games are against Bochum, who are terrible, and Hertha who are even worse. Schalke, in the meantime, have two extremely difficult games against Werder Bremen, who are fighting for a Champions League spot and a truculent Mainz team. Advantage very much Bayern's, then.

Immediately below the top two, a cracking sprint to the final Champions League spot is taking place between Bayer Leverkusen in third but level on points with Bremen and Borussia Dortmund in fifth place, only a point behind on 56. Werder needed a last minute penalty to beat Koln, Bayer were comfortable 3-0 winners over Hannover 96 and BVB had to fight off stiff resistance from Nurnberg to win 3-2. Outsiders for the Champions League are Stuttgart who have now won 6 (SECHS) games in a row after their 2-0 win at Bochum.

Left relying on scraps from the Cup finalists are Hamburg whose only other path to European competition is by winning the Europa League. Of course, to do that they'll need to beat Fulham at the Cottage this Thursday but losing 5-1 to Hoffenheim is hardly ideal preparation for the trip to London. The Hoff are finishing the season strongly and ruthlessly exploited the Northerners shambolic defending. Vedad Ibisevic and Chinedu Obasi scored a brace each with Sejad Salihovic rounding off the punishment. Tolgay Ali Arslan was sent off at the end for Hamburg who most assuredly would have sacked coach Bruno Labbadia had it not been for the forthcoming semi final this week.


Elsewhere, in the totally meaningless game of the weekend, Mainz went 2-0 down at home to Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to some atrocious defending. They fought back to 2-2 only to concede again with a wonder strike from Umit Korkmaz. The home side rallied again and Aristide Bance scored an equaliser with a bullet header, his second of the day. A great advert for the Bundesliga when two teams put on a show for the crowd with only pride at stake.

Finally, with all the relegation dog fighters losing, it was left to Freiburg to capitalise on Sunday afternoon and capitalise they did with a hard fought 1-0 win at a raucous Europa Park. Cedric Makiadi's solitary goal against his old club was enough to move Robin Dutt's team up to fourteenth with a three point gap over Nurnberg and Bochum on 28 points. They must travel to Koln next weekend and then host Dortmund on the final day.

Koln will have a say in the relegation battle as they also play a Nurnberg side who also play Hamburg. Bochum will play Munich followed by what could be a fraught encounter with Hannover, assuming of course the 96ers are not relegated by then after their next match against 'Gladbach. As for Hertha, they have Leverkusen and Bayern and will surely be relegated.

That's it. Results and tables here. Follow the Bundesliga on Twitter here.

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