The finale of one of the most dramatic seasons in years is finally here. No, not Game of Thrones, the 2018-19 Bundesliga season! All is to be decided on matchday 34 aside from this year’s relegated clubs. Both Hannover and Nurnberg are filming their final scenes in the top flight on Saturday, while Stuttgart will have a chance to keep their status through the promotion-relegation playoff with the third placed side from the 2 Bundesliga.
The top of the table is where all the action is this weekend, as Bayern Munich know a draw will probably be enough to see them win another Bundesliga title. Borussia Dortmund are just two points behind, but would need a 17-goal winning margin to overturn Bayern’s vastly superior goal difference.
However, a draw might not be easily gained for Niko Kovac’s men, who host Europa League semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt. Kovac arrived in Munich from Frankfurt last summer, having left the Eagles the perfect parting gift in the shape of a cup final win over Munich, so these two sides know a lot about each other.
The match will be the last Bundesliga match for both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben should they feature, while vesatile defender Rafinha has also announced he will move on from Munich this summer. Luka Jovic also could feature in his last game in Germany, with Real Madrid and Barcelona in the market for one of Europe’s hottest young strikers.
Frankfurt currently sit sixth in the table, but could find themselves slipping to eighth and out of Europe if they lose to Bayern and results elsewhere go against them. The top four teams qualify for the Champions League as usual, while RB Leipzig versus Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal final means that fifth through seventh will progress to the Europa League.
Borussia Dortmund’s task of finishing above Bayern is also a tricky one, travelling to face a Borussia Monchengladbach side who themselves have a lot on the line. Gladbach are fourth heading into the weekend, but are battling for the final Champions League spot with both Bayer Leverkusen and Frankfurt. Just one point separates the sides currently.
Thorgan Hazard is set to start for the final time in a Gladbach jersey, having already agreed personal terms with Saturday’s opponents, Dortmund. The two clubs have yet to agree a fee, but a transfer is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, travel to Berlin to face an inconsistent Hertha Berlin side. Hertha have only pride to play for, but are optimistic they can extend Marko Grujic’s loan deal from Liverpool for another season. The Reds may also have an eye on this game to monitor midfielder Julian Brandt, who could be available for as little as €25m this summer if Leverkusen miss out on the Champions League. The midfielder is also a target of Borussia Dortmund, while a replacement in Leverkusen has already been signed in the form of Hoffenheim’s Kerem Demirbay, who has agreed a €28m move.
Hoffenheim are one of the teams in the mix for a Europa League spot, with Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen also looking to finish in the top seven. Bremen have a tricky tie with RB Leipzig, but may find the visitors fielding some fringe players as they have already secured third and a Champions League spot. Emile Smith-Rowe is in line for a first start, having joined on loan from Arsenal and recently recovered from injury.
Both Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim will be hopeful of wins, with the former hosting Augbsurg while the latter travel to Mainz. Hoffenheim have already started to look to next season, signing two players in the last week. Armenian forward Sargis Adamyan is an interesting acquisition from Jahn Regensburg, having scored 15 times in 32 appearances in the second tier this season, while Kostas Stafylidis arrives from Augsburg and will be the club’s new left-back, allowing Nico Schulz to complete his transfer to Dortmund.
Bundesliga fans everywhere will be watching the table with close interest this weekend, but there will also be a lot of interest on how certain players react once the full-time whistle blows across Germany – there may be plenty of indications of other players who wave goodbye to clubs for one final time.