Hamburg and Paderborn have it all to do after losing their respective games last weekend in the Bundesliga which has now made them favourites to go down. Stuttgart defeated Hamburg 2-1 which was crucial for their own respective relegation chances and they now occupy the play-off spot in 16th. Freiburg gained a superb home victory against Bayern Munich whilst Hannover also won. The battle for the runners up spot is also still in contention heading into the final weekend of the German football season.
Paderborn v Stuttgart
For Paderborn the best they can hope for now in their first attempt at cracking the German top tier is for a play-off spot in 16th which is currently occupied by their opponents, Stuttgart. If Paderborn can win and Hamburg don’t win themselves then Paderborn have given themselves a fighting chance.
Stuttgart got the victory they needed to rise from the foot of the table above Hamburg after beating them 2-1. Paderborn have played Stuttgart on 3 occasions and have never won. Paderborn have also failed to win in 9 of their last 10 home matches in the league.
Stuttgart thoroughly deserved their win against Hamburg and will have been disappointed to not have won by more given their dominance on shots at goal. It now means a draw won’t be good enough to go above Hannover unless Hannover suffer a heavy defeat.
Paderborn’s Uwe Hunemeier was desperately unlucky to score a decisive own goal in their narrow 1-0 defeat at Schalke and it’s unlikely Paderborn will differentiate from that side too much. Alban Meha is still their biggest loss and will be missing for the crunch gam. Stuttgart made several late changes in the Hamburg victory but will field the same side for the trip to Paderborn.
Hamburg v Schalke
It is pretty straight forward for Hamburg after their disappointing defeat, win or face relegation for the first time since 1963 which is when the Bundesliga was formed.
Hamburg are the only side to have competed in the top flight since its inception so they’ll be desperate to keep their record run going. Bruno Labbadia took over last month and guided them to 7 points from a possible 12 which took them out of drop zone briefly but they’re now staring relegation in the face. Schalke did them a favour by beating Paderborn and their win sealed Europa League football for Roberto Di Matteo’s side.
Hamburg initially took the lead through Gojko Kacar which was his 3rd goal in 3 games. Frustrations were evident for Hamburg as they picked up 6 yellow cards in the second half. Nicolai Muller and Valon Behrami continue to be sorely missed by Labbadia but Jaroslav Drobny was fit enough for the substitute’s bench.
Schalke’s Julian Draxler and Leon Goretzka were both introduced at half time against Paderborn and the midfielders are both likely to participate from the start. Kevin-Prince Boateng is a big miss for Schalke whilst Marco Hoger, Sidney Sam, Atsuto Uchida and Kaan Ayhan are all missing through injury.
FC Koln v Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg picked up a solid victory against Borussia Dortmund which ended their opponent’s chances of sneaking into the Europa League qualification positions. They’ve now recorded just 2 defeats in their previous 21 Bundesliga matches which has been pivotal with Borussia Monchengladbach breathing down their necks.
Wolfsburg have beaten Koln 4 times on the spin and with the home side playing for nothing, you would fully expect Wolfsburg to get the solitary point they require to secure runners up spot.
Nicklas Bendtner is the only injury concern for Wolfsburg but considering the Danish centre forward has scored just 1 league goal in 18 appearances it was highly unlikely he would’ve been troubling Bas Dost for the 1 striking position they accommodate in a 4-2-3-1.
Koln were disappointing in their 2-0 defeat to Mainz and Peter Stoger could experiment with the side ahead of Wolfsburg’s visit or even blood in a few youngsters to give them a taste of first team football such as Bard Finne. The 20-year old Norwegian is tipped for a bright future and earned his first full 90 minutes against Mainz.