The battle to beat the drop in the Bundesliga is reaching the final sprint. Just nine games remain for the sides to pull away and secure their survival in a finely poised Bundesliga relegation battle.
With Schalke destined for Bundesliga 2, the question on everyone else’s lips is who will join them. Heading into the final nine league games, just one point separates the four sides above Schalke.
Mainz currently occupy the second automatic relegation place, while Hertha Berlin sit in the relegation play-off place. Too close for comfort, but outside the bottom three is Arminia Bielefeld and Koln who are just one point clear of the relegation zone.
The sprint for safety is on in what is set to be a frantic finish at the bottom of the Bundesliga.
Bundesliga Relegation Battle Is Too Close to Call With Just One Point Separating Four Teams
Schalke’s Relegation Is Inevitable but Who Joins Them Is Anyone’s Guess
10 points from 25 Bundesliga games and a gap of 12 points to safety means relegation seems inevitable for Schalke. The club are doomed to the second division in what’s been a turbulent season both on and off the pitch.
Six appointments in the last five years stinks of relegation. But with the appointment of their latest manager Dimitrios Grammozis, it seems they are planning for life in the second tier of German football.
They are trying to bring back Ralf Rangnick to take over the sporting director role. Meanwhile, they have already signed up Mainz captain Danny Latza for next season. Their fight will soon end but the big question is who joins Die Koningsblauen in the second tier next season.
Mainz, Hertha Berlin, Arminia Bielefeld and Koln will scrap it out to ensure they remain a Bundesliga club next season.
Mainz Have Momentum Since the Turn of the Year
It has been a strong 2021 for Mainz since club legend Bo Svensson arrived as manager. Svensson is their third manager of the campaign after Achim Beierlorzer was sacked two games into the season and Jon Moritz-Lichte oversaw the first half of the season.
Combined those two managers collected six points from thirteen league games. Svensson’s return to Mainz as manager has yielded four wins and crucially 15 points, which has brought them back into the survival race.
Svensson’s January arrival also brought new faces which have slotted into the team well. Eintracht Frankfurt duo Dominik Kohr and Danny Da Costa have slotted into the team well and have been key to Mainz’s 2021 revival.
However, Svensson lacks a clinical goalscorer. They allowed top scorer Jean-Philippe Mateta to join Crystal Palace. Goal scoring has been a problem this season. Their current top scorer Robin Quaison has three goals.
They need a clinical edge and certainly more goals if they are to beat the drop but they have positive momentum since Svensson took over as manager.
Svensson faces a critical run of matches that could define their season. They travel to inconsistent Hoffenheim this weekend – their last game before the international break. Following that, they kick off April with three consecutive matches against the three sides directly above them. Arminia Bielefeld are first before they go to Koln and host Hertha Berlin. Positive results in those matches could really boost their survival prospects.
Pre-Season Optimism Was False for Hertha Berlin Who Are in Deep Trouble
Bruno Labbadia’s transfer business in 2020 offered plenty of excitement that this could be a special season for the capital club. However, nobody expected a desperate season of struggle and a real possibility of relegation. They lie in the relegation play-off place after a miserable campaign, a point off safety.
Pal Dardai’s return after Labbadia’s sacking hasn’t yielded much success. His seven matches have brought just one win and four points. Five defeats in seven have not arrested their slide and they are under increasing pressure to preserve their Bundesliga status.
Their problems are at the back. Only Schalke boast a worse defence than Hertha Berlin. They’ve conceded 45 goals in their 25 games – something that needs addressing. However, the ace in their pack is they boast the best attack out of the sides in the bottom five. They have a quality attack which has been largely inconsistent this season. Matheus Cunha, Krzysztof Piatek, Jhon Cordoba and Dodi Lukebakio are just a few of the attacking options at their disposal. A quality attack like that could give them the edge in the Bundesliga relegation battle.
Dardai is coming up to a serious critical point in his second spell in charge. He needs to ignite a team majorly underperforming. Bayer Leverkusen are next up for them as they target victory. That match is followed by the derby with neighbours Union Berlin and a clash with Borussia Monchengladbach. Three tricky games for Dardai but something needs to give in those matches.
Arminia Bielefeld Are Determined to Preserve Their Bundesliga Status
The season has probably gone as expected for current Bundesliga 2 champions Arminia Bielefeld. They sit exactly where they want to be come the end of May. The newly-promoted club are a point clear of the relegation zone and now have something to build on after their stunning victory at Bayer Leverkusen.
Like Hertha Berlin and Mainz, Bielefeld have changed managers. Uwe Neuhaus was dismissed and replaced by Frank Kramer. Kramer’s three games in charge have yielded four points including that Leverkusen victory in their most recent game.
That win certainly gives the whole club a lift and breathes new confidence into their survival bid. Kramer will likely need his side to efficient in the final nine league games.
Only Schalke boast a poorer attack than Bielefeld. Just 20 goals this season, 20% of those have been scored by PSV Eindhoven loanee Ritsu Doan. He will be vital to their chances of beating the drop. He’s arguably been their best player as they look to assert themselves in the Bundesliga.
Bielefeld have played some nice football this campaign but this has yielded little reward in terms of results. The Leverkusen victory certainly offers great hope going forward but improving defensively is also a must.
They face another stern assignment in Kramer’s fourth game in charge as they take on RB Leipzig. Both teams are in need of the points as they battle for survival and Leipzig look to increase the heat on leaders Bayern Munich.
That game is followed by a vital six-pointer with Mainz and a clash with improving SC Freiburg. These are three tough games but Kramer will fancy his side can pick up points as Bielefeld remain determined to keep their Bundesliga status.
Koln Are Sinking in the Bundesliga Relegation Battle
Despite sitting in 14th place, Koln are desperately struggling for form and confidence. The Billy Goats are just a point clear of the relegation zone after a run of four defeats in their last five games.
Markus Gisdol is under increasing pressure especially because the other four sides in the relegation battle have changed managers. He needs results and fast as they sink towards danger.
They need a spark from somewhere to ignite their survival bid. As well as four defeats in the last five league games, Koln have won just three of their last 14 league games.
There is enough quality in that squad to change their fortunes. Plenty of experienced Bundesliga players like Jonas Hector, Ellyes Skhiri, Sebastian Andersson and Ondrej Duda. These players will be key to Koln’s survival bid. Again like many of their rivals, goal scoring is an issue. Just 23 managed in their 25 league games, with top scorer Elvis Rexhbecaj managing five of those. The Kosovo international has been their star man from midfield this season and his performances could shape whether Koln are successful in the Bundesliga relegation battle.
Koln take on Borussia Dortmund in their next league game. A league double over Dortmund could be the perfect tonic for them to pull away from danger. Gisdol’s men face a difficult run of fixtures over the next few weeks. The Dortmund match is followed by a trip to red hot Wolfsburg, a crucial clash with Mainz, the derby with Bayer Leverkusen and a home tie with RB Leipzig. These will be five very difficult fixtures that could define how their season finishes.
It is a massive period in Koln’s season and players need to stand up and be counted.
Survival is imperative and Markus Gisdol will be determined to ensure Koln remain a Bundesliga club.