Title Battle, European Qualification, and Relegation Ruckus in 2022-23 Bundesliga
The 2022-23 Bundesliga season will end on 27th May and Borussia Dortmund would be hoping to end Bayern Munich’s 10-year dominance as the Men in Yellow and Black have finally taken pole position at the top of the table ahead of the last set of fixtures.
Looking at the other end of the table, Hertha Berlin had their fate sealed as the capital-based club will be finishing at the bottom of the top division and would be hoping to enter the Bundesliga fray once again in the coming seasons. Schalke 04, VfL Bochum, VfB Stuttgart, and Augsburg will be hoping to get out of the relegation ruckus as the battle for survival extends to the last weekend.
Let’s have a look at how things are poised in the German top-division league ahead of Matchday 34.
Title Battle on the last day
Bayern Munich had their fate in their hands heading into Matchday 37 with a 2-point lead over rivals Dortmund but a second-half slip-up against RP Leipzig meant that the match ended in a 3-1 defeat for the 31-times Bundesliga champions who could finish the 2022-23 season without a major trophy, a first in a decade of dominance.
Bayern enjoyed a decade of dominance winning 10 league titles, 5 DfB Pokal trophies, and even lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy twice in a span of ten years.
Julian Nagelsmann delivered a Bundesliga title in his first season with the club and was on course to repeat the feat for a second consecutive year but failures on the continental front, another elimination from the UEFA Champions League forced the mid-season sacking of the former RB Leipzig head coach.
Thomas Tuchel was handed the reigns of a disjointed ageing squad and the German head coach’s first assignment ended in failure as Bayern was knocked out of the DfB Pokal by Freiburg. Tuchel is now set to lose another title in his second month at the club unless Dortmund drops points on Saturday.
On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund was rewarded for sticking with their head coach till the end of the season having a sense of stability in the dressing room. After Marco Rose parted ways with Die Schwarzgelben at the end of the 2021-22 season, technical director Edin Terzic decided to take up the reigns of the team yet again to deliver a successful season for the club’s loyal fans
Terzic’s men will face Mainz 05 on Saturday after winning their last three matches comprehensively, a 6-0 win against Wolfsburg, a 5-2 win against Borussia Monchengladbach, and a 3-0 win against 10-men Augsburg. On the other hand, Mainz has lost four on the trot in the league with their last win coming against Bayern Munich and the BvB faithful would be hoping for another favor from the Mainz-based club.
Which European places are up for grabs?
With the title race set to go down to the wire, Bayern and Dortmund have sealed two UCL spots while RB Leipzig has collected 63 points in 33 matches to seal the third spot in the league table.
The Red Bulls enjoyed another successful campaign as they made it to the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League where they held Manchester City at 1-1 in the first leg but lost 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium allowing Pep Guardiola’s side to roll into the quarter-finals. The Saxony-based club could be the eventual kingmakers this season as they defeated Bayern 3-1 in Matchday 33 fixture allowing Dortmund to go top once again.
Union Berlin has grown leaps and bounds under Urs Fischer as the Swiss manager has led the club from the second division of the Bundesliga to the brink of UEFA Champions League qualification.
The capital city-based club qualified for the maiden UEFA Europa Conference League and followed that up by qualifying for the 2022-23 UEFA Europa League, and might keep the trend rolling as they are on the brink of qualifying for the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League.
Fischer’s side will come up against Werder Bremen on Matchday 34 with Werder coming into the match on the back of a four-match winless streak while Union Berlin has only won two of their last seven matches approaching the business end of the season.
Like Union Berlin, Freiburg also has 59 points in 33 matches and sits in the fifth position owing to Union’s superior goal difference. Freiburg is set to face Eintracht Frankfurt on the last day of the league season and would be going out all guns blazing in hopes of European qualification.
Bayer Leverkusen is in the sixth spot with 50 points with Wolfsburg in the seventh spot with 49 points. Leverkusen will be facing the relegation-threatened Bochum side while Wolfsburg will come up against an already-relegated Hertha Berlin on Matchday 34.
With only six wins and 26 points in the bag, Hertha Berlin is set to enter the 2023-24 2. Bundesliga as the Pal Dardai-managed club failed to show enough grit and resilience to stay in the top tier of German football.
Heading into Matchday 34, Schalke 04, VfL Bochum, VfB Stuttgart, and Augsburg are separated by three points making this one of the closest and toughest relegation scrapes in the recent history of the league.
With a direct relegation spot and a relegation playoffs spot, all four sides would be hoping to navigate to safety on the last day of the league season.
Schalke had only nine points in the first half of the season and if they manage to win their encounter against RB Leipzig, the side would manage triple (27 points in 17 matches) of what they had in the bag courtesy of a disastrous first half of the season.
Bochum, currently in the relegation playoff spot with 32 points (1 more than Schalke) will face Leverkusen in a bid to avoid further scrapes at the bottom. Stuttgart also has 32 points but is in 15th place in the points table owing to their superior goal difference and will host Hoffenheim at the legendary Mercedez-Benz Arena.
Augsburg should be the least concerned of the four sides as they are in 14th but would still like to get a point against Monchengladbach to ensure survival on the last day.