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After a quite turbulent week for Franck Ribéry, it went from bad to worse as he was given a straight red card following a reckless challenge on Lyon’s Lisando Lopez.
The Frenchman’s moment of madness means he now misses the second leg next week, a game that Bayern can at least now afford to draw in order to progress to the final for the first time since 2001.
That man Arjen Robben was, again, the hero of Allianz Arena on Wednesday night, his long-range effort taking a deflection to leave goalkeeper Hugo Lloris stranded and unable to keep it out.
1-0 to Bayern, and sights are now firmly set on a place in the final on May 22.
Up at the other end of Germany, on the coast of the North Sea, Hamburg’s Europa League semi-final opponents were Premier League Fulham, playing in their first ever European semi-final.
With Ruud van Nistelrooy playing up front, and with the goal of progressing to the final at their home ground the Nordbank Arena, to target, Hamburg were unable to muster up a goal.
Fulham, on the other hand, didn’t even manage a shot on target, but will be well chuffed with the 0-0 scoreline to take back to Craven Cottage next week.
So, it looks like The Fundesliga might still be on target with its Europa League final prediction...
Own trumpet-blowing aside though, it’s a vital weekend in the Bundesliga.
The question is: will any of the five relegation-threatened clubs make a last gasp bid for survival?
The answer, probably, is: no.
Well, that’s a little bit of a lie. Bochum have a decent chance at home to Stuttgart on Friday night – but with die Schwaben well on form and hungry for a Europa League position next season, I wouldn’t be betting my house on it.
Another team with a chance to sneak a point or three is Freiburg; they’re at home to massive underachievers Wolfsburg, who themselves need a miracle to finish anywhere but in no man’s land this season.
Will Bundesliga top scorer Edin Dzeko notch another couple to put a nail in Nürnberg’s survival coffin?
The others three teams - Hertha Berlin, Hannover and Nürnberg - all face teams in the top five of the league, meaning there will be no chance of their guards being down while the players are dreaming of their summer holidays…
Of those top five teams, Schalke travel to bottom club Hertha Berlin. It’s a must-win for the home team, who can be all but relegated by the end of play on Saturday. And probably will be.
Bayern München are away to Borussia Mönchengladbach, who are another of the ‘no man’s land’ teams. It ought to be nothing else but a comfortable away win.
Leverkusen, who are rapidly realising that even a qualifying position for the Europa League is going to represent a struggle, face Hannover, who will see this as a game that isn’t a ‘must-win’, but one that could yield a huge point.
And Werder Bremen, now in third place and looking to end the season on a high and get back into the Champions League, face FC Köln.
I think we’ll see a surprise or two this weekend…
This weekend's fixtures, along with The Fundesliga's predictions:
Friday: VfB Bochum 1-2 VfB StuttgartSaturday:Borussia M’gladbach 0-2 FC Bayern München FC Nürnberg 1-1 Borussia DortmundHertha Berlin 1-3 Schalke 04Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Hannover 96FSV Mainz 2-0 Eintracht FrankfurtWerder Bremen 3-1 FC KölnSunday: 1899 Hoffenheim 2-0 Hamburger SVSC Freiburg 0-2 VfL Wolfsburg
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"a game that Bayern can at least now afford to play out for a draw in order to progress to the final for the first time since that game in 1999." Actually they won the cl in 2001 against Valencia.
www.youtube.com/watch you see ?
Bayern can at least now afford to play out for a draw in order to progress to the final for the first time since that game in 1999.
did they not win in 2001
My mistake - Had a lot to do and very little time to write the article - thanks a lot for correcting! :)
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