Munich - While Easter bunnies were busy delivering chocolate goodness around the world, the Bundesliga had a fair few treats of its own on Matchday 31.

As always, bundesliga.com has been on hand to bring you all the build-up, breaking news and reaction from around the top flight...

The main events of Matchday 31...

  • VfB Stuttgart boosted their chances of staying up on Sunday thanks to a 3-1 victory at home to third-placed FC Schalke 04 in the weekend's curtain closer.

    • Bayer 04 Leverkusen reclaimed fourth place in Sunday's early game courtesy of a comprehensive 4-1 victory at struggling 1. FC Nürnberg.

      • FC Bayern München left it late to beat Eintracht Braunschweig, but goals from Claudio Pizarro and Mario Mandzukic sealed a comfortable 2-0 win for Pep Guardiola's side.

        • Borussia Dortmund clinched their place in next season's UEFA Champions League group stage with a 4-2 win over a plucky 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Signal Iduna Park.

          • SC Freiburg took a huge step towards Bundesliga survival with a 4-2 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.

            • SV Werder Bremen came from behind to defeat 1899 Hoffenheim 3-1.

              • and played out a goalless draw at the SGL Arena.

    That's all, folks! Make sure you join us later this week as we look ahead to Matchday 32 in the Bundesliga.

    Don't forget to follow Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg between FC Bayern München and Real Madrid CF at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on our LIVE ticker.

    Bis dann!

    Matchday 31 in Bundesliga 2 comes to an end tonight when 1. FC Köln get the chance to seal promotion to the Bundesliga at home to VfL Bochum. The Billy Goats will be back in the big time with three points in front of a sell-out crowd at the RheinEnergieStadion. With 50,000 fans expected, the venue will show how ready it is for Bundesliga football next season, so can Peter Stöger's team do the same?

    While Hamburger SV are seeking to avoid their first ever relegation from the Bundesliga, spare a thought for Nürnberg, who could set an undesirable record if they go down for a record eighth time. "You could see we were just resigned when we fell 3-1 down," said goalkeeper and captain Raphael Schäfer after a 4-1 home reverse to Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the weekend.

    Bayer 04 Leverkusen's back-up goalkeeper Tony Palop has announced via his own website that he will be pinning his gloves to the wall at the end of the season and bringing an end to a career which has spanned almost two decades. "After 19 seasons in which I've lived, felt and loved this profession, it is time to hang up my gloves," said the 40-year-old, who has yet to appear for Die Werkself, whom he joined from Valencia CF last summer. He Tweeted his decision (below)...

    Plenty of hearts were fluttering in the stands this weekend, but imagine how those closest to the action felt. We have the reaction from the men on the touchline - the coaches - from Matchday 31's tense, nail-biting action.

    Bayern left it late to beat Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday, but goals from Claudio Pizarro and Mario Mandzukic (pictured) eventually sealed a 2-0 win for Pep Guardiola’s side in Lower Saxony. The Spaniard was happy with the victory, but admits the Bundesliga champions will have to raise their game against Real Madrid CF in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg.

    Things are looking bleak for 1. FC Nürnberg, however. The Franconians suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Sunday and are now five points off safety following Stuttgart's win over Schalke. Goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer gave a frank account of der Club's performance after the match. Find out what he said by clicking here.

    From the long faces in Hamburg to the smiles in Stuttgart. 'Martin Harnik and Cacau are the heroes on this Easter Sunday,' states the Stuttgarter Nachrichten. 'Passion leads VfB away from the relegation zone'. We've got reaction from both of Stuttgart's matchwinners after a win which detaches Huub Stevens' men from the bottom three with three games of the season to go.

    The relegation battle dominates the agenda in the morning newspapers. Have VfB Stuttgart left their relegation worries behind? What next for Hamburger SV? Indeed the plight of the northern Germany side is getting everybody talking.'It's getting tighter and tighter for HSV', titles the local Morgenpost. Stuttgart's win over Schalke was the 'next bitter blow' for Mirko Slomka's men, who were beaten by Wolfsburg on Saturday and are now four points from safety.

    Sunday 20 April

    The emotions in the Mercedes-Benz Arena couldn't be more different, however. On a weekend when all of the teams below them lost, VfB Stuttgart took a huge step to safety by beating FC Schalke 04 3-1 to move four points clear of the relegation play-off spot, with Cacau scoring his 80th top-flight goal for VfB, one more than Jürgen Klinsmann.

    Sunday's early game brought nothing but disappointment for fans of 1. FC Nürnberg, whose side slumped to a fourth successive defeat and continue to edge towards the relegation precipice. The 4-1 reverse to Champions League-chasing Bayer 04 Leverkusen leaves them a point off the relegation play-off spot and five adrift of safety.

    You can stay up to date with all the live action from both the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 on our Ticker from 11.30 GMT / 13.30 CEST.

    To find your local television broadcaster for Sunday's action, including Leverkusen's trip to Nuremberg, click here.

    Forget Easter eggs, FC Bayern München fans received an even better gift this morning: goalkeeper back in training. Judging by this Twitter snap, the Germany international will indeed be fit to face Real Madrid CF in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night. Left-back also spent the morning training with the reserves after missing out against Braunschweig with a throat infection.

    Borussia Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp was delighted with the manner in which his side acquitted themselves in yesterday's 4-2 win over 1. FSV Mainz 05. "My team were outstanding," he enthused after the game. "We didn't take anything for granted [...] They started aggressively, and played at a high tempo [...] We actually could have scored a few more."

    Relegation-threatened Nürnberg will attempt to halt a run of three straight league defeats when they entertain Champions League-chasing Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday afternoon. Click here to read our exclusive preview for the Grundig Stadion encounter.

    Saturday 19 April

    That's all for tonight, but make sure to join us tomorrow as we look ahead to 1. FC Nürnberg vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen and VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Schalke 04. As always, we'll bring you all the reaction from those matches as and when it comes in. Bis morgen!

    Wolfsburg boosted their chance of Champions League football with a deserved 3-1 win over beleaguered Hamburger SV at the Imtech Arena. Click here to find out what Ivica Olic, Luiz Gustavo, Hakan Calhanoglu and Ivo Ilicevic said after the final whistle.

    Borussia Dortmund's 4-2 victory over 1. FSV Mainz guarantees their place in next season's UEFA Champions League, but BVB are in no mood to rest on their laurels. Find out what the Schwarz-Gelben's players made of their victory over Jürgen Klopp's former club by clicking here.

    Bayern didn't have it all their own way against Eintracht Braunschweig, but goals from Claudio Pizarro and Mario Mandzukic eventually sealed a 2-0 win for the champions at the Eintracht-Stadion. Find out what some of the players had to say after the final whistle.

    A massive win for fourth-placed VfL Wolfsburg in the context of the UEFA Champions League places, but what a disastrous evening for 16th-in-the-table Hamburger SV. It goes without saying, Mirko Slomka's men will be hoping FC Schalke 04 can do them a favour against VfB Stuttgart tomorrow. Click here to read our exclusive preview of Matchday 31's curtain closer.

    So, great win for Borussia Dortmund, who have clinched their place in the group stage of Europe's premier club competition with a deserved win over Mainz. Bayern left it late to beat Braunschweig, but Pep Guardiola's side eventually recorded their 26th win of the season thanks to two late goals from Claudio Pizarro and Mario Mandzukic. You can find out what happened in Saturday's other afternoon kick-offs by clicking here. Stay tuned for all the reaction to today's matches...

    With only 14 players of his senior squad available due to suspensions and injuries, FC Bayern boss Pep Guardiola (pictured) will be giving three players from the Bundesliga champions' junior side the chance to enjoy a first taste of top-flight action today, with Raif Husic, Benno Schmitz and Alessandro Schöpf all called up for the first time by the Catalan.

    Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, meanwhile, has announced he should be fit in time for Bayern's meeting with Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

    You can stay up to date with all the live action from both the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 on our Ticker from 13.30 GMT / 15.30 CEST.

    To find your local television broadcaster for the weekend's action, including Bayern's game away to Eintracht Braunschweig, click here.

    Borussia Dortmund have the chance to seal automatic qualification for the UEFA Champions League today when they host head coach Jürgen Klopp’s former side 1. FSV Mainz 05 this afternoon (kick-off: 13:30 GMT/15:30 CET), while Bayern München hope to bounce back from two consecutive Bundesliga defeats away to cellar dwellers Eintracht Braunschweig.

    Get yourself up-to-date with our exclusive previews for all the Saturday encounters:

    kick-offs 13.30 GMT/15:30 CEST:

    Borussia Dortmund - 1. FSV Mainz 05
    Eintracht Braunschweig - FC Bayern München
    SV Werder Bremen - 1899 Hoffenheim
    SC Freiburg - Borussia Mönchengladbach
    FC Augsburg - Hertha Berlin

    kick-off 16.30 GMT / 18.30 CEST

    Hamburger SV - VfL Wolfsburg

    Friday 18 April

    Borussia Mönchengladbach will seek to seal their return to Europe this weekend when they travel to an SC Freiburg side with other things on their mind. Meanwhile, SV Werder Bremen go in search of the points they need for survival against 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Augsburg, although they won't admit it, can keep in the hunt for Europe with victory over Hertha Berlin. Check out our preview of Saturday's Bundesliga action.

    Japan international right-back had some great news for the FC Schalke 04 masses yesterday. "I'm training hard every day and am looking forward to being able to train with the team sometime soon," he said following a spell of around two months on the sidelines nursing a thigh injury picked up against Hannover 96 on Matchday 20. "I'm feeling really good. The rehabilitation program has been a success."

    Please join us in wishing former Borussia Dortmund favourite Dede a very Happy 36th Birthday. The Brazilian left-back made over 400 appearances during a 13-year stay at Signal Iduna Park and was part of the side that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012. Currently plying his trade in Turkey with Eskisehirspor, Dede is set to hang up his boots in the summer.

    VfB Stuttgart will have to do without the services of Moritz Leitner and Rani Khedira against Schalke in the concluding Matchday 31 encounter, with both midfielders sidelined due to minor knocks. On a more positive note for Huub Stevens' side, attacker (pictured) returned to first-team training on Friday.

    Despite the Berliners having the worst record of all Bundesliga sides in the second half of the season, FC Augsburg shooting star Andre Hahn insists Hertha won’t be taken lightly when the two sides meet at the SGL Arena on Saturday afternoon. "They’ll be giving their all to return to winning ways,“ the 23-year-old, who will be joining top-flight rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer, told herthabsc.de. “We’ll be trying our best to keep all three points in Augsburg, but we‘ll need to be very focused.“

    Hamburger SV are in dire need of points this weekend. They have four games left to save themselves from relegation and, though they have been strong at home of late (two wins and three draws under new coach Mirko Slomka), they host Wolfsburg, themselves going for the Champions League, this Saturday. If can produce anything like the performance he put in the last time the sides met, however, they have a chance of getting the points they need...

    First-choice goalkeeper (pictured) will not be available for Bayern München’s visit to bottom-of-the-table Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday, Pep Guardiola confirmed at the pre-match press conference today. “He will stay in Munich this weekend,“ said the Bundesliga champions‘ head coach, adding that left-back David Alaba will also miss out through illness.

    He may have enjoyed unique success with FC Schalke 04, with whom he won the UEFA Cup in 1997 and the DFB Cup in 2001 and 2002, but the Royal Blues' Coach of the Century Huub Stevens (pictured) insists he won't be a victim of sentimentality when entertaining the Royal Blues with current side VfB Stuttgart on Sunday.

    Thursday 17 April

    That concludes the first instalment of the weekend's live action. We will be back on Friday morning with more reaction from Thursday night's opener, and build up to the remainder of the weekend's games. See you then!

    In spite of their win, no Hannover player would dare say they are safe just yet. Frankfurt, who also have 35 points, are not feeling particularly safe yet either. Check out what the protagonists thought of Thursday night's encounter.

    It was billed as a game which could mean survival for its winner, and Hannover 96 took what could be a defining step towards that by virtue of a 3-2 win at Eintracht Frankfurt in a spectacular opener to Matchday 31 on Thursday night. Read all about the action-packed game here.

    Well the weekend is about to begin with Eintracht Frankfurt hosting Hannover, so head here for the ticker or read our match report at the final whistle!

    1899 Hoffenheim travel to Bremen and there's no doubting who the man of the moment is for the Sinsheimers at the moment. Sejad Salihovic has scored 11 goals for the club this season, three of them coming from direct free-kicks, and last week became the club’s highest scorer in the Bundesliga, scoring his 44th top-flight goal against FC Augsburg. Here's the Bosnian's top five...

    Hertha Berlin were sixth at the turn of the year, but now have the worst record in the league in 2014, with just two wins from 13 games. Safe from the drop and out of reach of the European places, the capital club's season is fading into mediocrity. This weekend they are looking to bounce back from defeat on Matchday 30, but they will have to do so without leading scorer , who remains sidelined with a thigh problem.

    Heiko Westermann (pictured l.) and Milan Badelj (pictured r.) are both rated as doubtful for Hamburger SV's northern derby with VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday. The German international has adductor problems while the Croatian midfielder has a thigh strain. "We're not going to leave any stone unturned in trying to get them fit," said HSV coach Mirko Slomka, who is searching for his 100th Bundesliga win, and a precious one at that.

    Eintracht Braunschweig on Thursday confirmed the capture of Polish goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz from WKS Slask Wroclaw from next season. "Rafal caught the eyes of our scouts and we're convinced he'll be able to help us over the coming two years," said sporting director Marc Arnold. Exactly what division he will play in will become clear at the end of the season, with Braunschweig hosting FC Bayern München this weekend, needing three points to stand any chance of leaving the foot of the table.

    Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp announced at a press conference that his players will be given Sunday and Monday off after not having a rest day for the past month. He also revealed that " is getting better, but to be able to perform at the top he needs to be perfect," suggesting a comeback is not on the cards this term. should be fit after picking up a knock, but goalkeeper is unlikely to play against Mainz due to an adductor muscle strain.

    With Dortmund up against Klopp's former club Mainz on Saturday, check out why the tactician lost the plot when the two sides met back in 2011 on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel:

    FC Bayern München's DFB Cup semi-final victory over Kaiserslautern on Wednesday was met with loud cheers a long way from the Bavarian capital. Their progress to the cup final now means the team that finishes in seventh in the Bundesliga this term will qualify for the UEFA Europa League. More details can be found here.

    That's right, the Bundesliga gets underway on Thursday this week as German law does not allow for matches to be played on Good Friday. Eintracht Frankfurt host Hannover 96 in the Matchday 31 opener, with both sides eager for a victory that would all but guarantee their top-flight status next season. The rest of the fixtures will take place on Saturday and Sunday as usual.

    Before we get to the Bundesliga build-up, let's get some quick reaction from the DFB Cup, where FC Bayern became the second team to reach this season's final by beating 1. FC Kaiserslautern at the Allianz on Wednesday night. They will face Borussia Dortmund in the final and goalscorer Arjen Robben is thrilled to be facing BVB again, as he .

    Hello and welcome to bundesliga.com's LIVE updates. We'll be here throughout the weekend, bringing you all the latest build-up ahead of Matchday 31, as well as all the reaction as and when it comes in on what promises to be a weekend full of Easter treats. The title may already be decided, but with just four matchdays left, the battle for the European spots as well as the relegation skirmish are as intense as ever.