In one of the tightest relegation fights in recent memory, the battle to beat the Bundesliga drop is set to go down to the wire.
Bundesliga Relegation Battle to Go the Distance
Hertha Berlin Slip Up Against Fellow Strugglers
Neither Hertha Berlin nor Arminia Bielefeld were able to take three points from their crucial match on Sunday afternoon, with the pair playing out a dull goalless draw. A win would have taken Arminia out of the bottom three, leapfrogging their opponents in the process.
Instead, the 2019/20 Bundesliga 2 champions are one of three sides stuck on 31 points and fearing for their safety. All three of Hertha in 14th, Werder Bremen in 15th and Bielefeld in 16th share the same tally, whilst Koln in 15th occupy the final automatic relegation spot with 29 points.
Koln had the chance to temporarily move out of the drop zone, yet a 4-1 defeat at home to Freiburg on Sunday meant the Billy Goats will enter the final two matchdays of the season with their fate out of their own hands.
Koln Part of Four-Team Relegation Battle
The two-time Bundesliga winners will get another opportunity to cut the gap to the sides above them in their penultimate match against fellow struggles Hertha next weekend. However, the side from Berlin may be five points clear of Koln should they win their mid-week game in hand against already relegated Schalke.
Hertha were forced to cancel a number of their fixtures by the DFB after the club were thrown into quarantine following a string of positive Covid cases in the squad. Already struggling at the time of the cancellation, Hertha have faced an end of season fixture pile-up. With key players like Dodi Lukebakio and Matheus Cunha experiencing a drop off in form, their task remains tough.
If they were to falter from here on in and suffer relegation, it would be the third time in a decade Hertha have dropped to the second division – a sharp decline for a side who were consistently playing European football in the early-2000s.
Whoever drops down to the second tier is likely to be another historical name in German football to fall out of the top tier, after Schalke’s fate was sealed in early April. Die Königsblauen suffered their first relegation in 31 years this campaign after a turgid season which nearly saw the seven-times champions almost break the record for most Bundesliga games without a win.
Schalke One of Many Fallen Giants in Second Tier
Schalke won’t be the only past force of German football in Bundesliga 2 next season, with the 1980 European Cup winners, Hamburg, looking set to miss out out on automatic promotion back to the top-flight for the third consecutive season.
After being relegated in 2018, Hamburg have suffered two fourth-place finishes on the bounce. Six times winners of the German championship, Hamburg are a prime example of the troubles major clubs may endure if they’re to lose Bundesliga status.
Schalke, Hertha, Koln and co. will be desperate to avoid being the next fallen giant to get stranded in the second division.