This weekend’s round of Bundesliga fixtures saw the relegation battle narrow to three clubs.
Last place SC Paderborn are not yet mathematically out of contention, but the newly-promoted side trail 17th place Werder Bremen by eight points with three matches to play. Bremen and Düsseldorf both have 28 points, while 15th place Mainz have 31. Additionally, 1. FC Union Berlin, 1. FC Köln and Augsburg are not mathematically safe, but they all sit on 35 points, a seven-point gap over the bottom three.
SV Werder Bremen, Fortuna Düsseldorf, and Mainz 05 Locked in Bundesliga Relegation Battle
SV Werder Bremen: Automatic Relegation (17th Place, 28 Points)
By far the biggest club in this relegation battle, Bremen have not been relegated since 1980.
On Saturday, the 2004 Bundesliga champions beat Paderborn by five goals to one, a massive step towards avoiding the drop. Bremen take on Bayern Munich tomorrow night, a match where the Rekord Meister can secure their eighth straight title.
This difficult fixture is followed up by a massive six-pointer, and possible relegation decider at Mainz’s Opel Arena. Florian Kohfeldt’s men face 1. FC Köln on the final matchday. Köln are not mathematically safe, but it is the easiest match of the last three.
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Relegation Playoff Spot (16th Place, 28 Points)
The Fortunen were seconds away from a priceless point against Borussia Dortmund until Erling Haaland’s header ruined the day.
On paper, Düsseldorf have a tricky fixture list. They take on RB Leipzig this Wednesday, who are looking to confirm top-four status. Next is 13th place Augsburg, followed by 14th place 1. FC Union Berlin. Augsburg and Union are not mathematically safe, the two sit on 35 points, meaning that both matches will be hard-fought, relegation scraps.
Mainz 04: Safe (15th Place, 31 Points)
Jürgen Klopp’s former side have by far the most difficult schedule of the three sides. On Wednesday, Mainz travel to Dortmund’s Signal-Iduna Park, followed by the aforementioned Bremen on Saturday, and Bayer Leverkusen on the league’s final matchday.
Leverkusen are in fourth, just one point above fifth-place Borussia Mönchengladbach. Champions League football will be on the line. Based on Mainz’s current form, five points from the last six matches, it would not be surprising if just one point is accrued from the final three fixtures.
The Relegation/Promotion Playoff Will Not Be a Formality
With three matches left in the 2. Bundesliga, just one point separates second place Hamburger SV from third place VfB Stuttgart, two massive Traditionsvereine.
Both have two of the most expensive 2. Bundesliga squads in history. The third-place side will face the 17th place Bundesliga side, currently Fortuna Düsseldorf. A Werder Bremen, Hamburg playoff would see a Nordderby for the ages. The two clubs are the biggest in northern Germany, and their rivalry goes back to 1927.
The Bundesliga Relegation Battle Will Be Close
Based on current form, Werder Bremen have the best chance of avoiding both automatic relegation and the playoff.
Since the restart, the side has accrued ten points from seven. Comparably, Düsseldorf have six points from six and Mainz have five points from six.
Each club has a difficult schedule in its own right, and as things currently stand, no one is facing a side with nothing to play for. The Bremen-Mainz match on Saturday could very well be the deciding fixture.
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