The Bundesliga relegation battle is set to go to the wire. With three rounds of games to play, it is finely poised at the bottom of the table. However, the team who could hold the key to the relegation battle is Hertha Berlin. While their rivals have three games to play, they have five after a coronavirus outbreak last month.
They start their final five games three points off safety and with a much better goal difference than the likes of Koln, Arminia Bielefeld and Werder Bremen. However, teams have struggled to hit top gear after a coronavirus outbreak but the need for results is great for the capital club.
If Hertha Berlin find some form, they will certainly send shivers to many of their relegation rivals who are enduring mixed runs of results.
Hertha Berlin Hold the Key to Unlocking the Bundesliga Relegation Battle
Hertha Berlin Face Five Defining Games in 16 Days
Hertha Berlin spent much of April watching their rivals play after their forced absence off the pitch. The capital club returned to action a few days ago with a draw against resurgent Mainz. They couldn’t hold on for the valuable three points needed after conceding an equaliser.
They start their final five games unbeaten in their last four but their last three were draws. Pal Dardai’s team need to start turning those draws into victories. Survival is in their own hands – five wins and they will be playing Bundesliga football next season.
Pal Dardai’s side desperately need to find their attacking edge and fast. They have real quality in their ranks but goals have been elusive. The capital club face several of their rivals in their run-in as they battle to beat the drop.
They play the second of their three games in hand against SC Freiburg first before crucial games with fellow strugglers Koln, relegated Schalke and relegation rivals Bielefeld. Berlin conclude their season away at inconsistent Hoffenheim. There are certainly plenty of points on offer for Pal Dardai and his side.
However, it’s a case of how the players respond to their forced break. Their form was patchy prior to the covid outbreak but they need to unlock their survival instincts. They have five very winnable games left and the players need to show the quality many know they have.
Koln Have Been Resurgent Under Friedhelm Funkel
While Hertha Berlin have been forced to watch and wait, Koln have been wasting no opportunities to pick up points since Friedhelm Funkel returned as manager.
The Billy Goats dismissed Markus Gisdol after a run of six defeats in eight matches. Funkel made a sensational return and despite defeat in his first game back to Bayer Leverkusen, Koln have won their last two games. Crucial victories over RB Leipzig and FC Augsburg have ignited belief in the players and the fans.
They occupy the relegation play-off spot, a point off safety. Koln are breathing down the necks of Werder Bremen and Arminia Bielefeld and will fancy their chances of beating the drop.
Again, like Hertha Berlin, they have winnable games remaining in their fight against the drop. The last three matches kick off with a home tie against Freiburg who are pushing for a European spot. Then they face a vital six pointer with Hertha Berlin before finishing the season against relegated Schalke.
The Billy Goats will be full of confidence heading into their season defining run in. Momentum is with them and certainly their survival instincts have kicked in at the right time.
Arminia Bielefeld Need to Keep Churning Out Results
The newly promoted side are in a better position than many would of expected with three games to play. Bielefeld have their destiny in their own hands after a much improved run under new manager Frank Kramer.
Kramer’s appointment as manager has yielded 12 points from his eight league games in charge. Bielefeld are still shaky defensively but have shown efficiency in picking up points under Kramer.
However, Kramer knows his side need to be dealing in victories when beating the drop because of their goal difference. Only Schalke have a poorer goal difference than Bielefeld and goal difference could be a major factor at the end of the season.
Bielefeld have some form behind them- losing just once in their last five although that was their most recent match. Kramer will want to see a big response after conceding five to Borussia Monchengladbach in Kramer’s heaviest loss since replacing Uwe Neuhaus.
They have the perfect game to respond with – a trip to Hertha Berlin. A massive match for both sides in the context of this relegation battle. Potentially, Bielefeld could pull six points clear off Hertha but on the flip side, Hertha Berlin could go above Bielefeld and possibly climb out the drop zone. It’s a game neither side dare not lose.
Bielefeld finish the season with a home tie against inconsistent Hoffenheim and a trip to out of form, injury hit Stuttgart. There are plenty of points on offer for Frank Kramer’s team and it’s about seizing the opportunity to prolong their stay in the Bundesliga. They will not want to be relegated after just one season in the Bundesliga relegation battle.
Werder Bremen Struggling in the Bundesliga Relegation Battle
One side who know all about the Bundesliga relegation battle is Werder Bremen. They survived last season by beating Heidenheim in the play-off but automatic relegation is looming large over Florian Kohfeldt’s side unless they halt their rotten run of form.
Bremen currently sit 15th, a point clear of the play-off and three clear of Hertha Berlin who occupy the final automatic relegation place. Their run of seven straight league defeats has them nervously looking over their shoulder. Florian Kohfeldt’s team haven’t won since beating Bielefeld in early March which was the last time they collected any points.
Their worrying slide needs arresting and fast. Goals have dried up and they are conceding goals at an alarming speed. Their seven losses on the bounce have seen Bremen ship 18 goals including four against Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig and three against Bayern Munich.
Arguably, Bremen face the trickiest finish out of their relegation rivals. They face home games against Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach. Both of those sides are looking to secure their European places for next season.
However, sandwiched in between those games is a trip to FC Augsburg – the side directly above them. They, like Bremen, are feeling conceded themselves at the prospect of the drop. The winner of that game will feel safety is in touching distance.
Bremen have to buck up their ideas and fast. They fought tirelessly last season to beat the drop and Florian Kohfeldt will need that from his players once again. They are in a much better position than at this stage of last season but their alarming run needs halting fast.
The Nerves Have Hit FC Augsburg as They Change Managers
FC Augsburg are in the best position out of any of their direct relegation rivals. They sit 14th, four points clear of the play-off place and six clear of Hertha Berlin. However, the concerns of relegation culminating in a bad run of form saw Augsburg sack Heiko Herrlich with just three games to play.
His replacement is a man who knows Augsburg brilliantly in Markus Weinzierl. Weinzierl has been one of the club’s most successful managers having guided them to the Europa League during his first spell in charge. He’s been brought back to ensure Augsburg get over the line and finish the season strongly.
However, he inherits a side which has won just twice in their last eight matches, losing five of those. This poor run prompted concern amongst the hierarchy and now ensuring safety is top priority.
That run included dropped points against Arminia Bielefeld and Schalke. Weinzierl’s return has been greeted positively amongst fans and crucially, he’s had time to put the players through their paces and instil his methods.
Weinzierl’s return kicks off against his former club Stuttgart. Augsburg’s returning manager was enduring a difficult spell at Stuttgart and ultimately couldn’t arrest their slide to relegation in 2019. He will not want the same fate to fall on his current side. A home tie with Werder Bremen follows before the Bavarian derby with Bayern Munich on the last day of the season.
Safety is in Augsburg’s hands but Markus Weinzierl will be aware they cannot take anything for granted. Points are there for them as they inch closer towards safety. They will not want to be dragged into serious trouble in this open battle for survival in the Bundesliga relegation battle.
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