What to look out for when the Bundesliga returns
German football is back this weekend
The Bundesliga is finally back this weekend, with the top two leagues in Germany set to resume behind closed doors following a two-month suspension.
Fans have been eagerly anticipating what should be a thrilling final nine games of the season. Near enough every team still has something to play for, with the title race, European spots and relegation scrap still yet to be decided.
Bayern Munich are currently four points clear at the top of the table and are on track for their eighth consecutive league title.
But the reigning champions have a tricky run-in and with plenty of teams on their tail, they can’t afford to slip up.
So with the league’s resumption just days away, we’ve crunched the numbers on how the next nine matches could shape the final standings.
The title race
Bayern have enjoyed another strong campaign and are leading the way with 55 points, largely down to the ever-prolific Robert Lewandowski, who tops the charts of golden boot hopefuls with 25 goals.
Hans-Dieter Flick was recently rewarded for his impressive start as interim boss with a three-year deal and the German is targeting a first league title in his maiden season. However, it won’t be plain sailing and there are potentially four teams that could challenge Bayern.
Borussia Dortmund are sitting on 51 points, adding extra excitement to their clash with Bayern on 26th May. Dortmund will need Jadon Sancho to be at his best and they could pick up crucial points as they take on Paderborn, Hertha Berlin, Mainz and Dusseldorf, four teams fighting to stay up.
RB Leipzig, armed with British pair Ethan Ampadu and Ademola Lookman, host Dortmund on the penultimate day. Leipzig are also in contention on 50 points, while Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen aren’t far behind.
The battle for Europe
The top four in the Bundesliga qualify for the Champions League and those places will almost certainly be taken by four of the five title contenders, with sixth-placed Schalke 10 points adrift.
However, the race for sixth and a spot in the Europa League qualifiers is on. Schalke lead the way on 37 points but they’ll be nervously looking over their shoulder, with Wolfsburg and Freiburg just a point behind, meaning their final day clash with the latter could essentially be a Europa League play-off.
Meanwhile, Hoffenheim are sitting pretty on 35 points and FC Koln and Union Berlin aren’t totally out of the picture if they can gather some momentum.
The relegation scrap
Unlike the Premier League, the Bundesliga relegates the bottom two but gives third-bottom a lifeline in the shape of a play-off against third place in the 2. Bundesliga.
Paderborn are currently rock-bottom and face an almighty battle to survive, with 10 points between them and guaranteed safety. Werder Bremen are just two points ahead of them, while Dusseldorf are currently in the play-off spot on 22 points.
Mainz have a bit of breathing space as they sit four points clear, but they’ll be desperately seeking points alongside Augsburg, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, who are far from safe.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication