As Bayern Munich race unstoppable towards a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title, the focus turns towards the top four and the battle to stay in the top flight.
This weekend’s stand-out Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt surprisingly sees the third-placed team take on the fourth-placed team, with both cubs on 42 points – just one point behind Schalke 04.
It is, of course, no surprise that the Yellows are challenging, but few would have thought at the start of the season that Frankfurt could last the distance. But they seem to be doing so.
With just four points separating Schalke from RB Leipzig, who are sixth, every match is important as just nine games remain before the end of the season.
To some extent, Dortmund have themselves to blame that they have not managed to open up a bit of a gap on the chasing pack.
Although they remain unbeaten under coach Peter Stöger, who took over from Peter Bosz in November, they have picked up just two points from their last two matches.
Unlike their draw at home against Augsburg, their 1-1 in Leipzig on Saturday was impressive and prompted Stöger to say that they cannot play attractive football all the time.
“It is my job to bring the club back to an even keel and take them into the Champions League, not to put my stamp on the game.
“It is said that football is result-driven. But that is not enough in Dortmund. We were eighth when I took over and now we are third. But nobody is interested in that.”
His Frankfurt counterpart is one of the rising stars of German coaching and is even being linked with a possible move to Bayern to take over from Jupp Heynckes, who has said he will definitely be leaving at the end of the season.
Another Frankfurt employee who could be on his way out of the club is highly rated goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, who was the man-of-the-match in the first round game between the two teams in which Frankfurt came back from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2.
Ironically, the Finnish international is said to be on the wanted-list of Dortmund.
“That puts him in a difficult position,” says Colin He Xin. “If he puts in a match-winning performance, he will obviously show Dortmund officials what he is capable of, but he could also then be responsible that Dortmund fail to make it into the top four,” said the StarTimes Media Division Sports Director.
The leading broadcaster will be showing the match live at 19:00 CAT on its World Football channel on Sunday.
“I think all fans will accept that the title race has been decided, but there is plenty to play for behind Bayern and for a club like Dortmund, anything but a top-four finish would be hugely disappointing,” he said.
StarTimes not only shows live Bundesliga matches throughout Africa, they have also secured the rights to the World Cup later this year.
Source: StarTimes Ghana