Relegation griller in Hamburg

Bayern Munich couldn’t build on their title winning season midweek after a devastating 13 minute spell saw them concede 3 second half goals and looks to have sealed Barcelona’s entry into the Champions League final unless the newly crowned German champions can defy all the odds in the Allianz Arena for the 2nd leg. Meanwhile in the Bundesliga at the bottom end of the table, there is a massive relegation clash on Friday night between Hamburg and Freiburg.

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Hamburg v Freiburg

Hamburg have hit some form at the right time of the season with back-to-back victories which has taken them out of the relegation zone with just 3 games remaining. It has taken them above Freiburg in the table and is exactly the response new manager Bruno Labbadia demanded.

Freiburg meanwhile have not won any of their last 4 games and currently occupy the relegation playoff spot. Expect an extremely cagey affair as a defeat for Freiburg would be unthinkable.

Dennis Diekmeier has returned to full training and is available for selection for Labbadia but he looks set to keep faith with Heiko Westermann at right back. Lewis Holtby is ready to return for Ivo Illicevic as the creative influence in midfield. Cleber, Jaroslav Drobny, Nicolai Muller and Valon Behrami are all missing through injury.

Mike Frantz is struggling for the away side and could be replaced by Felis Klaus on the wing. Sascha Riether’s experience could be preferred at right back instead of Mensur Mujdza whilst Oliver Sorg is a doubt in midfield and Vladimir Darida is likely to step in.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen

It looks potentially like it could be winner takes all between 3rd and 4th. It is the difference between qualifying for the Champions League automatically which will cause serious disruption to their respective pre-season campaigns.

Gladbach are currently 2 points ahead of Leverkusen in 3rd but Leverkusen come into the game on the back of an impressive 2-0 victory against Bayern Munich. Leverkusen are also unbeaten in 24 of their last 26 matches against Gladbach in all competitions.

Gladbach’s success has been largely down to their limited number of injuries and only Martin Stranzl is their absentee through injury. Leverkusen were unfortunately dealt a blow with the injury to Kryiakos Papadopoulous at the start of the month and they’re slightly vulnerable at the heart of defence. Despite their frailties, they managed to keep Munich at bay and one player who could be rewarded with a start is Julian Brandt who came off the bench to score after just 6 minutes.

Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin

This tie has been unusually favourable to the away side in which in 4 of the last 6 meetings, the away side has come out triumphant. Hertha Berlin are precariously close to the drop zone and will be desperate for another 3 points to virtually seal their status in the Bundesliga for another season.

Dortmund meanwhile will be looking to finish strong in Jurgen Klopp’s final season at the club and also maintain momentum for the DFB Pokal final. They’re just 3 points off a Europa League spot and for a club the size of Dortmund it should be an absolute minimum requirement.

Adrian Ramos has suffered a serious ankle injury that is set to keep him out of action for 3 months whilst Jakub Blaszczykowski looks set to miss the remainder of the season with a groin tear. They both join Kevin Grosskreutz on the injury list who underwent knee surgery at the end of April.

Former Dortmund forward, Julian Scheiber is also denied the opportunity to return to his old stomping ground with an injury he picked up in February. Roy Beerens is Hertha’s other main con cern and the midfielder has now been injured for several weeks.

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