Get the lowdown on three of Saturday's key Matchday 24 encounters...
Hamburger SV - Eintracht Frankfurt
Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka will have to do with a heavily depleted squad when his struggling side take on Eintracht Frankfurt at the Imtech Arena, with the Red Shorts eyeing victory to move away from the bottom three.
Regular starters , Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Marcell Jansen, Slobodan Rajkovic and Petr Jiracek are just five of a number of players currently sidelined for Hamburg, who suffered a painful setback when they lost to SV Werder Bremen last Saturday, a week after ending a seven-game losing streak against Borussia Dortmund. Nevertheless, Slomka refused to be downcast, insisting: "I believe we can win."
Meier the key?
Saturday's visitors, meanwhile, are counting on their top goalscorer to keep up his good form against his former side as they look to build on their dramatic 2-1 home win against Stuttgart.
In spite of Hamburg's woes, Frankfurt boss Armin Veh urged his charges not to be complacent. "They still have a really good team, but we'll do our best to make sure they won't be at their best when they face us." The Eagles are currently six points better off than Saturday's hosts and after exiting the Europa League a fortnight ago, can now focus solely on their domestic plight.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - FC Augsburg
Gladbach are desperate to finally end their eight-game winless run when they entertain in-form FC Augsburg at Borussia Park. Having only gleaned three points from their last six outings, coach Lucien Favre's side have slipped from third to sixth since the turn of the year and are in dire need of victory to keep qualification for Europe in sight.
"It's about time we won," said the Swiss tactician. "We need to be confident and more clinical in front of goal, then we can be successful again." With both Granit Xhaka and Christoph Kramer unavailable, Favre has been forced reshuffle Gladbach's defensive midfield, although and Lukas Rupp are the candidates most likely to fill the gap.
Boosted by three victories and a draw from their five last matches, Augsburg will be travelling to Mönchengladbach in positive spirits. "We won a point in Dortmund and scored twice there," said FCA boss Markus Weinzierl. "We also found the net four times away to both Stuttgart and Freiburg. We're going to Gladbach full of confidence but we know we have to give 100 per cent to avoid defeat."
Having played the full 90 minutes in each one of Augsburg's 23 encounters so far this season, midfielder Daniel Baier is likely to be unavailable for the Bavarians as the 29-year-old is suffering from knee problems. Captain Paul Verhaegh also unavailable, while Argentinean forward could enjoy a surprise comeback against his former club after spending a month on the sidelines.
VfB Stuttgart - Eintracht Braunschweig
Swabia provides the setting for the two sides who would benefit most from a victory. Stuttgart are looking to an a run of eight consecutive defeats when they host bottom-of-the-table Braunschweig at the sold-out Mercedes-Benz Arena, and the hosts are pinning their hopes on the vocal home support carrying them to the finish line. "The fans will be giving their all to see us win, and that should give us an extra boost," said sporting director Fredi Bobic.
Head coach Thomas Scheider, who has to make do without the top goalscorer due to suspension, is well aware of what's at stake and is expecting "an emotional and memorable game."
'The sort of match you dream of'
With Stuttgart, Hamburg and Freiburg all on 19 points, Torsten Lieberknecht's Braunschweig side - currently only three behind - have the chance to narrow the gap on 15th place and increase their chances of top-flight survival.
"It's the sort of match you dream of as a kid," said the Lions' head coach. "I don’t want to say it's do or die, but we can take a big step in Stuttgart." Braunschweig came through the international break unscathed, meaning Daniel Davari, Ermin Bicakcic, Havard Nielsen and Omar Elabdellaoui will all make the trip south west.