The best of German football from the Bundesliga and beyond
It’s safe to say there were mixed fortunes for the sides representing Germany in European football this week.
Bayern München, leading 1-0 from their first leg clash with Lyon last week, thoroughly battered their French counterparts at the Stade Gerland, with a hat-trick from tireless Croatian schemer Ivica Olic sealing a 3-0 win.
Hamburg, the country's only other European competitor, meekly went down 2-1 to Fulham in the Europa League.
That bit of sad news aside, though, The Fundesliga is sporting a massive smile today, as its prediction of a Fulham and Atlético Madrid final has finally come true - that really is a turn up for the books!
But in an effort to grab The Fundesliga's glory, Hamburg this week parted company with manager Bruno Labbadia, presumably also hoping that a change of manager would provide a huge morale boost in their season-defining game at Craven Cottage.
And it looked like it was working early on, when Mladen Petric nestled home an inch perfect 30-yard free kick to make it 1-0 on the night, and put HSV up on aggregate with a vital away goal.
But the joy was to be ultimately short-lived. Goals from Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera put the hosts in the ascendancy, and they held on to record a victory on a night that must surely go down as the club's most historic ever. Still, cracking goal from Petric though...
It seems this sudden manager-axing is rather contagious at the moment in Deutschland, with Heiko Herrlich this week also being shown the exit door by Bochum.
With the team once known as Die Unabsteigbaren (the unrelegatables) needing something of a miracle on Saturday when they travel to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern, one can only presume the directors are pinning all their hopes on a new face achieving the impossible.
So, sort of what Hull City tried in appointing Iain Dowie, and we all know how that turned out...
Over to matters on the pitch, and it's yet another action-packed weekend of Bundesliga action ahead of us.
This will be the weekend when, finally, Hertha Berlin say 'auf wiedersehen!' to the Bundesliga, with Kaiserslautern already promoted to take their place next season.
Bayern München can't wrap up the title this round of fixtures, and only a brave man would bet against both them and Schalke winning their respective games this weekend.
And if that does indeed happen, then Stuttgart will be looking to take full advantage of Werder Bremen's slip up; with Bremen travelling to Gelsenkirchen to face Schalke.
As Leverkusen and Dortmund both have favourable fixtures, we might see the second-half-of-the-season-wonders, Stuttgart, be within a point of Bremen and European football come the final day.
The bet of the day for me has to be FC Nürnberg away to Hamburger SV. You can get 3/1 on them coming away with a win, against a deflated side just knocked out of the Europa League and mathematically unable to qualify for the competition again next season.
Aside from Hannover, who have an absolutely massive chance to record three points at home to Mönchengladbach and put themselves in with a chance of survival in a week's time, the other two games not mentioned are really a much of a muchness; nothing really to play for apart from pride and a few extra Euro by finishing a position or two higher up the table.
Penultimate weekend of the campaign; squeaky bum time, as Sir Alex would put it...
This weekend's fixtures, along with The Fundesliga's predictions:Saturday
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 VfL WolfsburgBayer Leverkusen 3-0 Hertha BerlinEintracht Frankfurt 1-0 1899 HoffenheimSchalke 04 2-1 Werder BremenFC Bayern München 3-0 VfL Bochum Hannover 96 1-1 Borussia M’gladbachFC Köln 2-2 SC FreiburgVfB Stuttgart 3-2 FSV MainzHamburger SV 1-2 FC Nürnberg
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