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Bundesliga: Round 21 - Dortmund fight for a spot in Europe

While Bayern Munich are the undisputed kings of German football, Dortmund had hoped to put an end to their status as the perennial bridesmaid. Now they're even outside a Europa League spot - but have a chance to notch a much-needed win this weekend. In stark contrast, Wolfsburg are hunting a fifth straight Bundesliga victory.

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Round 21 action

At last, some consistency in the Bundesliga. Each of the division’s top five teams won last weekend to keep those five spots the same for the first time in months – which was particularly bad news for sixth-place Borussia Dortmund, who after yet another defeat are now in full-blown crisis. A place in next season’s Champions League is looking less and less likely.

They were beaten 2-1 by a mid-table Freiburg side who really should not have been able to so easily stunt Dortmund’s talented attackers, leaving interim coach Edin Turzic in a surprisingly difficult position. The club, allowed to drift for far too long, needs major changes this summer, and with Covid-19 causing huge financial difficulties, that probably means selling their two biggest assets - Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho.

Towards the bottom, there was a huge 1-0 win for Mainz 05 over Union Berlin that allowed them to gain some ground on their rivals. This historic club is only four points from safety now, and having collected more than half of their entire points tally for the season over the last five matches will be confident of better times ahead.

Here’s a look at three of the biggest games coming up this weekend.

Borussia Dortmund v Hoffenheim

Nothing is working for Turdiz at the moment. He is changing formation regularly in a desperate attempt to get something to stick, but this only breeds further confusion, leading to his attackers struggling to make connections with one another. Marco Reus looks lost, as do the young players who used to buzz around him. Even Haaland has stopped scoring, while Sancho is enduring a very tough campaign.

All of which should make it easier for Hoffenheim to park the bus and force Dortmund into more laboured possession; when teams sit back against Dortmund they haven’t shown the energy to break them down. However, Hoffenheim have lost their last two matches and have slipped to 12th in the table. What’s more, they have conceded seven goals in their last two games - meaning this is the perfect opportunity for Dortmund to build some momentum again.

Back Dortmund to win.

Bayer Leverkusen v Mainz 05

There is a good chance that Mainz’s improved form will be stopped in its tracks this weekend. They have only won one away game all season and sit second-bottom of the table on this metric, with just five points from nine away games. Leverkusen might not be immaculate at home, but their 5-2 win over Stuttgart last weekend should mean they are confident ahead of this fixture.

Once again, it was Leverkusen wingers Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey who starred. Their pace and ingenuity from the flanks is cutting teams open this season, and the two youngsters are seemingly getting better all the time. It is highly unlikely that one of the leakiest defences in the division has what it takes to stop these two.

Back Leverkusen to win with a -1 handicap.

Wolfsburg v Borussia Monchengladbach

Wolsburg are in magnificent form, having found a tactical strategy that allows them to compress space, sit in a disciplined mid-block, and wait for chances to counter-attack. They are sturdy and resolute, hence they find themselves sitting third in the table and with five consecutive wins in all competitions - without conceding. With even Leverkusen unable to break through their defence this year, Wolfsburg have a good chance of cementing their place in the top four when Monchengladbach visit.

Marco Rose’s side are in poor form, with a 2-1 defeat to FC Koln following a 1-1 draw with Union Berlin. Tiredness appears to be getting to this squad, and Rose is seemingly unable to find the right balance between Breel Embolo, Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea at the moment. Consequently, expect Wolfsburg to keep yet another clean sheet, laying the foundation for a vital three points.

Back Wolfsburg to win.


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