With one week to go, the 2020/21 Bundesliga season is reaching its climax and there is little doubt who the absolute winners and losers are.
FC Bayern have stormed to yet another title, their ninth in succession, and the goals of Robert Lewandowski have continued to flood in, as the lethal Pole scored his 40th of the league season when Bayern played out a 2-2 draw away to Freiburg on Saturday.
At the foot of the table, Schalke 04 have suffered a nightmare season, relegated weeks ago, and a shock win over Frankfurt probably came as big a surprise for their own fans as anyone!
With the title safely back in Bavaria, RB Leipzig are homing in on second place, while Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund look set to qualify for the Champions League following Eintracht Frankfurt’s stunning defeat to Schalke.
But at the bottom end of the league table, there is an almighty battle going on, Hertha Berlin, Mainz and Augsburg have climbed to safety, while Arminia Bielefeld, Werder Bremen and FC Koln are fighting for the last remaining survival place, two points separate the three teams with one game to play.
Winners: FC Augsburg
Werder Bremen had an opportunity to drag Augsburg into the thick of the relegation battle when the two sides met on Saturday, but the hosts held their nerve to win 2-0 and climb to safety.
After a tense and bad-tempered first half, Rani Khedira, settled Augsburg’s nerves when he coolly slotted home from a corner. And the deal was done, late in the game, when Milot Rashica fouled Andre Hahn in the penalty area and Daniel Caligiuri fired home the spot kick.
Loser: Christian Gross (Werder Bremen)
When Augsburg’s Ruben Vargas was dismissed for violent conduct with only 12 minutes on the clock Werder Bremen had a golden opportunity to grab three crucial points. But early in the second half Christian Gross evened things up. The vastly experienced centre-back was on a yellow card when he ploughed into an unnecessary challenge and picked up a red, opening the door for Augsburg to take control of the game.
Winner: Pal Dardai (Hertha Berlin)
At the start of the season, the Bundesliga 2021 betting odds didn’t throw up anything to worry Hertha Berlin fans, who probably expected a midtable finish and maybe a Europa League push. However, they have been in and about the relegation battle throughout.
Hertha playing and coaching legend Pal Dardai was drafted in to guide the Berliners to safety and he pulled off a masterstroke in a six-pointer at home to FC Koln on Saturday. As a defensive midfielder the Hungarian international scored 17 goals in 297 appearances for Hertha Berlin and he coached the club between 2015 and 2019, steering them to two Europa League qualifications.
Dardai’s side parked the bus in their crucial home tie against Koln, marshalled by skipper Dedryck Boyata who picked up a yellow card in a determined display of defensive courage.
With only one shot in the entire game, it wasn’t pretty, but a point was enough to guarantee Hertha’s place at the top table next season.
Losers: Koln’s strikers
With 60 per cent possession the strugglers could pass the ball around at ease, with an impressive passing accuracy of 83 per cent. They even managed to unleash 12 shots on the Berlin goal and four on target but they rarely troubled Hertha keeper Alexander Schlowow.
Spearheaded by Swedish striker Sebastian Andersson, the visitors started and finished the game as third lowest goal scorers in the Bundesliga and after a 14th place finish last season and are in real peril this time around.
Winner: Andreas Voglsammer (DSC Arminia Bielefeld)
Arminia desperately needed something from their home game against Hoffenheim to keep their survival hopes alive and, after conceding an early goal, it came in the form of Andreas Voglsammer, who fired home a beauty of a free-kick into to top left corner to secure a point.
Bielefeld have their destiny in their own hands and they have an away game to Stuttgart next week where a win will guarantee their survival.
Losers: Eintracht Frankfurt
A quick look at the SBOTOP odds before the weekend would have revealed the opportunity presented to Eintracht Frankfurt, as they had a match against rock bottom Schalke to surely present them with three more points in their Champions League push.
Die Knappen had only win two games all season and, on 13 points, had been relegated for weeks but they somehow found a way to beat Frankfurt in a seven-goal thriller.
While it’s merely a small consolation for Schalke after a forgettable season, this was one of the most important Bundesliga 2021 results of the season, in terms of what it means to the race for the top four.
It was a record-breaking day for Portuguese striker Andre Silva as he scored two goals for Eintracht to make it 27 for the season, breaking the club’s record in the Bundesliga, but his team’s Champions League dreams may just have gone up in smoke.