Five teams are still able to finish in the last remaining Champions League qualification spot: Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim. Free Super Tips analyses the Bundesliga top four run-in with just two matches to go.
How things stand in the Bundesliga
Only three points separate Eintracht Frankfurt in fourth and TSG Hoffenheim down in eighth.
A top-six finish would secure European football for any side, but with the Bayern, Dortmund and Leipzig out of reach, it’s that fourth place spot that everybody’s got their eye on.
Inconsistencies among these sides have seen the betting odds fluctuate wildly over the past few weeks, so as everything comes down to the wire, we wanted to take a look at the numbers.
Eintracht Frankfurt (4th – 54 points +18 goal difference)
Fixtures: Mainz 05 (H), Bayern Munich (A)
Form: L – D – D – L – W
Eintracht Frankfurt are in pole position going into the final two games of the season – a fourth-placed finish would see them qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history. However, an exciting but exhausting campaign looks to have taken its toll on Adi Hutter’s side, who have seen their lead ahead of the fifth-place decimated over the past few weeks, failing to win in any of their last four league outings. To make matters worse, the Eagles also suffered one of their heaviest ever Bundesliga defeats away to Leverkusen last weekend.
Unlike the sides around them, Frankfurt do still have another route into the Champions League, were they to come away victors in the Europa League. Hutter’s men will have to dig deep at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on Thursday to continue their European adventure though, and should they do that, you can imagine that their focus will be less on their upcoming league outings with Mainz and Bayern Munich. If they are knocked out of the Europa League, however, you wouldn’t put it past the Frankfurt offence to cause these sides some trouble.
Bayer Leverkusen (5th – 54 points +13 goal difference)
Fixtures: Schalke (H), Hertha Berlin (A)
Form: W – W – W – W – L
There are no questions about which of these candidates are the form side. Even before their record-breaking win over Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen had hauled themselves back into European contention with three wins in-a-row against Stuttgart, Nurnberg and Augsburg, and Peter Bosz’s side has one of the more favourable run-ins to end the season, hosting Schalke, who have already ensured their survival, before travelling to an out-of-sorts Hertha Berlin.
With the attacking quartet of Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt, Lucas Alario and Kevin Volland all looking sharp, Bosz should be feeling fairly confident that his side can get results in each and qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2016/17, when they were knocked out in the last 16 by Atletico Madrid. Leverkusen are the bookmakers’ favourites to get the job done, and considering the above, it’s hard to bet against them.
Borussia Monchengladbach (6th – 52 points +11 goal difference)
Fixtures: Nurnberg (A), Borussia Dortmund (H)
Form: D – L – L – W – D
Borussia Monchengladbach had a remarkable start to the season – at home in particular, where they won each of their first eight outings – and they found themselves third in the Bundesliga over the winter break. Dieter Hecking’s side carried on where they’d left off at the start of 2019, winning their first three games of the year, but a run of just two wins in twelve matches since has really hurt their chances of Champions League qualification.
Key men like Thorgan Hazard and Alassane Plea have suffered drastic dips in form and that hasn’t been helped in combination with captain Lars Stindl being ruled out for the season due to injury. Outbound coach Hecking would no doubt like to leave on a high note, however, that will be easier said than done with Die Fohlen needing to make up two points on both Frankfurt and Leverkusen. Matters may, however, be made easier if Dortmund are out of the title race on the final day.
Wolfsburg (7th – 52 points +8 goal difference)
Fixtures: Stuttgart (A), Augsburg (H)
Form: W – W – D – L – W
Having only survived via the relegation play-offs in each of the last two seasons, it may come as a surprise to see Wolfsburg vying for a top-four finish this year, but they’re not there by accident. Coach Bruno Labbadia has put together a very competitive side, with USNMT star John Brooks marshalling the defence and Dutch giant Wout Weghorst leading from the front. The Wolves do have a two-point disadvantage (plus goal difference) going into the final two games, but they have a number of positives going for them.
Wolfsburg have been one of the most consistent teams in the Bundesliga this term, earning as many points on the road as they have at home (26), and their final hurdles of the campaign don’t look too tricky on paper. Stuttgart can no longer avoid relegation outright, but pressure is off them as they’re all but guaranteed to be playing in the relegation play-offs, needing just a point to do that. After that Labbadia’s men host Augsburg, who are already safe, playing only for pride.
TSG Hoffenheim (8th – 51 points +21 goal difference)
Fixtures: Werder Bremen (H), Mainz 05 (A)
Form: D – L – W – W – W
Last but not least in the race for a top-four finish is Julian Nagelsmann’s side. Hoffenheim never really got going before the winter break, but a run of just three defeats since the turn of the new year (W7 D5 L3) has propelled them up the standings to within three points of the top four. Interestingly, Hoffenheim have dropped 26 points from winning positions this term – an amount that would have seen them as title contenders if they’d managed to hold on in even two-thirds of these.
Hoffenheim are in good form in front of goal – forwards Andrej Kramaric and Ishak Belfodil in particular – so you shouldn’t write them off – in fact, only Bayern (83) and Dortmund (76) have scored more than them (68) this season. With the best goal difference of all sides here, wins against Bremen and Mainz could be enough to secure them a return to the Champions League should Frankfurt and Leverkusen lose just one of their games and Gladbach and Wolfsburg not win both. It’d be unwise to rule that out.