Relegation issue still very much on Bundesliga agenda

So, it seems that it is now a two-horse race between Bayern München and Schalke 04 for the Bundesliga title.

The Fundesliga is now officially writing off Leverkusen's chances of Bundesliga success, six points behind with just five games left tells you all you need to know about their faltering campaign.

Bayern München's incredibly hard-fought 1-2 win over nearest rivals Schalke 04 at the Veltinsarena has put them in pole position to pip their opponents to the title.

In an unusually necessary display of defensive solidarity and steely midfield work (especially after Hamit Altintop was sent off before half time), goals from Franck Ribéry and Thomas Müller helped Bayern record their fourth straight win in front of Schalke's supporters.

The game’s three goals came in just six first half minutes, with Bundesliga leading scorer Kevin Kuranyi replying for the hosts in the 32nd minute after France international Ribéry and emerging German youngster Müller netting within two minutes of one another just beforehand.

Manchester United beware: Bayern are on form, and ready to produce a massive upset to knock the English Premier League leaders out of the Champions League. And with both Arjen Robben and Ribéry set to play, and potentially no Rooney for United, it could well be on the cards.

The tension is growing at Hamburg, as highlighted by their striker Paulo ‘I had a blackouta’ Guerrero, who lobbed a plastic bottle at one of his own fans during their drab 0-0 draw against Hannover at the weekend.

With one eye on their UEFA Europa League return game against Standard Liege, HSV will be looking to protect a 2-1 lead from the first leg, after goals from  Mladen Petrić and Ruud van Nistelrooy secured a slender lead in front of their home fans last week.

With Wolfsburg ripping apart Hoffenheim at the weekend I was presented with a rather interesting fact regarding their in-demand striker Edin Dzeko – He's scored 17 league goals this season, but just three of them at the Wolves' Volkswagenarena.

This means, of Wolfsburg's 22 away goals so far this campaign, Dzeko has struck 14 of them, an average of a goal per away game.

That's impressive going for the Bosnian striker, but is it also partly the reason why his team have struggled so far this season?

Fellow strikers Grafite and Oba Martins have both scored just one away goal, and only Zvjezdan Misimovic (he's scored three), Christian Gentner and Brazilian Josue can claim to have capped an away performance with a goal so far this season.

At least when Dzeko hasn't struck during a home game there have been plenty of other players stepping up to the plate; 26 other goals from his team mates at their home ground.

With Werder Bremen determined to make things impossibly hard for themselves in qualifying for Europe next season it looks like one of several times might be ready to overtake them in that final quaslifying position.

Eintracht Frankfurt, after a superb 3-2 win over Leverkusen, are looking good, while Stuttgart can't be written off. What a turn around that'd be, after they were languishing in the bottom third for a large part of the season under the management of Markus Babbel.

Also, I can't quite get my head around FC Köln this season. After a massive win over Hannover last weekend, they followed it up with the sort of abject display you'd normally say was deserving of a team going down.

They won't be going down, mainly because they've managed to pull the odd corker of a result off every now and again this season (beating Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Frankfurt away from home, for starters...), but their form really is baffling.

Oh, and Lukas Podolski still only has the two league goals in 23 appearances.

But what about the other teams in the race to avoid relegation, which, it would appear, is growing more and more exciting by the week.

Will Bochum beat the drop? Will Freiburg fall from Bundesliga grace? Hertha Berlin might actually stay up – ridiculous!

So much to talk about, so little time. There's only one way to find out their fate, and that's by looking at their remaining fixtures...

1. FC Nürnberg:
Wolfsburg(h), Freiburg(a), Dortmund(h), Hamburger SV(a), FC Köln(h)

VfL Bochum:
Hamburger SV(h), FC Köln(a), Stuttgart(h), Bayern(a), Hannover(h)

SC Freiburg:
Werder Bremen(a), Nürnberg(h), Wolfsburg(h), FC Köln(a), Dortmund(h)

Hannover 96:
Schalke 04(h), Bayern(a), Leverkusen(a), M'gladbach(h), Bochum(a)

Hertha BSC:
Stuttgart(h), Frankfurt(a), Schalke 04(h), Leverkusen(a), Bayern(h)

You really do have to feel sorry for Hertha Berlin. I mean, look at those fixtures. That's just mean.

They're currently ahead of title hopefuls Bayern München and Bayer Leverkusen in the form table, and then the fixture computer goes and gives them a truly horrific end-of-season run-in. Still, where there's hope, and all that...

BUNDESLIGA RESULTS Sat 02 Apr: Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Werder Bremen, FC Köln 0-3 Hertha Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen, FC Nürnberg 2-0 FSV Mainz, SC Freiburg 1-1 VfL Bochum, Schalke 04 1-2 FC Bayern München, VfB Stuttgart 2-1 Borussia M’gladbach; Sun 03 Apr: Hamburger SV 0-0 Hannover 96, VfL Wolfsburg 4-0 1899 Hoffenheim .

This week's fixtures, along with The Fundesliga's predictions:

UEFA Champions League
Manchester United v Bayern München, (agg 1-2), QF, L2
UEFA Europa League
Standard Liege v Hamburger SV, (agg 1-2), QF, L2
VfL Wolfsburg v Fulham, (agg 1-2), QF, L2

Borussia M’gladbach 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Hertha Berlin  1-1 VfB Stuttgart
FSV Mainz 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Hannover 96 1-2 Schalke 04
1899 Hoffenheim 2-0 FC Köln (God knows with FC Köln, though... It could be 0-4)
Werder Bremen 3-0 SC Freiburg
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Bayern München
VfL Bochum 1-1 Hamburger SV
FC Nürnberg 2-2 VfL Wolfsburg

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