The Battle for Hope
Bundesliga Match Day 24 Preview
Official Bundesliga League Table
March 2 – Even if their aims are different, three Bavarian teams are fighting this weekend for the right to hope. One for the title, another one to avoid relegation and the last, to fight for promotion. All three teams face difficult opponents, ones that won’t go down without a fierce fight.
Bayern Munich’s chances of winning the Bundesliga title are still high, but with a four-point deficit between them and the leaders Borussia Dortmund, any mistake can prove to be very hard to overcome. Arjen Robben & Co. already made enough mistakes in the opening part of the year, ones which have cost them the lead in the table.
Next opponents for the Reds are the inconsistent Bayer Leverkusen, despite their high table position, they have yet to establish a string of good results in the league. Bayern has a streak of six consecutive matches without a defeat, but their problems in away games might haunt them. With only two points earned on the road so far this season, FCB’s head coach Jupp Heynckes will have a tough task if he wants his team to get all three points the game against his former club.
Last season at the BayArena, Heynckes earned a draw against his current club which helped Leverkusen continue their run for a Champions League spot. This time though, a similar result could be a tough blow for the 66-year-old, as title holders Dortmund are favoured at home against a team that has only one win away this season, Thomas Tuchel’s 1. FSV Mainz.
Bayern has to give their all on Saturday if they want to keep pace with the leaders, another great performance from Frenchman Franck Ribéry being essential for this game. The hosts will have a Michael Ballack more than eager to show that he can still shine in front of big teams, so the game is really up for some big battles, definitely a highlight of the weekend.
Elsewhere at the same hour, FC Augsburg will try to win their second consecutive match by shocking a team on tilt, Hannover 96. Mirko Slomka’s team saw their nine-game undefeated run ended by Dortmund last week, a quick recovery being desirable, but quite difficult. At first glance, Augsburg may be considered underdogs, considering that their opponents are only one of the only two undefeated teams at home. Hannover has successfully defended their turf at the AWD-Arena against both Bayern and Dortmund.
The morale of the “Fuggerstädter” is high after their win last week against relegation rivals Hertha BSC. The 3-0 defeat for struggling Berlin denied a positive return to the Bundesliga of coaching legend Otto Rehhagel. The win may be the all-important boost for Augsburg in the battle to survive in the league. They may have clawed their way back to a safe spot from relegation but the one point difference at this juncture is not going to be enough. So on Saturday, Jos Luhukay and his boys will have to keep tight and earn a point or three.
The football weekend will finish in style with the top game of this matchday in the second division of the Bundesliga. 1860 Munich is hoping to continue their flight towards the top of the league when they will meet third-place FC St. Pauli. “Sechzig” has five wins in a row, and are the best team so far in the second part of the season with a game in hand. The Lions are climbing up the table and getting close to join the battle for promotion.
Another win at home against a top team in the standings would make the fans very happy. Munich’s wins earlier this season against Eintracht Frankfurt and Fortuna Düsseldorf are a sign that this year might be the one bringing the promotion.
The last time 1860 and St. Pauli faced off in Munich two years ago, the hosts got all three points thanks to a Stefan Aigner brace. It was a setback for the northern club but in the end they were still able to earn promotion to the top flight. For St. Pauli fans another misstep is not acceptable, especially as they couldn’t get all the points at home in the last game against Eintracht Braunschweig. A loss may put their hopes of returning to the Bundesliga in jeopardy. Monday evening is going to be a hot night on the Allianz Arena, offering a game that you shouldn’t miss.
Sport Eagle will have Tony Mayger tweeting live at the match on Monday. Follow him on Twitter @Tony_SportEagle
There is a full package for football fans this weekend, one which will bring forth mixed emotions and interesting duels. The action is heating up in both leagues!