Blockbuster weekend of football ahead on Matchday 31


Matchday 31 this weekend may well prove to be a truly defining moment of the campaign at both ends of the table, with a series of huge fixtures on the cards.

Bayer Leverkusen vs. VfB Stuttgart

With Bayer Leverkusen having wrapped up the title already, you would think there wasn't a whole lot left to play for at the very top of the table but that is far from the case. Leverkusen are still chasing history by delivering an unbeaten campaign and, having survived by the skin of their teeth last weekend, they now face what could be their trickiest remaining task in keeping their Invincibles tag.

That's because this weekend's visitors to the BayArena are VfB Stuttgart on Saturday evening (kick-off: 6.30pm CEST). Stuttgart are also enjoying a remarkable campaign and are competing with Bayern Munich to finish as runners-up behind Leverkusen. Importantly, a win could seal Stuttgart's top-four place and a seat at next season's UEFA Champions League.

Watch: Bayer Leverkusen a record 45 games unbeaten

Bayern Munich vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern hold a three-point advantage over Stuttgart and could extend this to six before VfB play. That's because Thomas Tuchel's side take on European hopefuls Eintracht Frankfurt in one of four games at 3.30pm CEST on Saturday afternoon.

Bayern will be desperate to not relinquish second place, but Frankfurt will be no pushovers as they look to edge even closer to securing sixth - and European qualification - by turning over their hosts. Don't forget, this is a Frankfurt side that thumped Bayern 5-1 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

The visitors have a five-point advantage to seventh, a gap that could either be extended or cut short this weekend. That is a position well worth holding, and there is even an outside chance that the sixth-placed finishers could qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. 

Watch: How Frankfurt beat Bayern 5-1

RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Dortmund

Another of those early games on Saturday promises to be an absolute belter as Borussia Dortmund travel to RB Leipzig. The home side currently occupy fourth - four points behind Stuttgart and two clear of their Matchday 31 opponents. Win, and they open up a five-point jump to BVB. Lose, and Dortmund will leapfrog them into fourth with three games to go.

These two have never played out a goalless draw in their previous 15 Bundesliga meetings, with 51 goals between them at an average of 3.4 per game. With so much talent in both ranks, this weekend will surely serve up yet another cracker of a game at the Red Bull Arena and may well prove decisive in the battle for a top-four spot.

And, while the Bundesliga is well positioned to earn five Champions League places in next season's expanded competition, fourth still currently represents the final, nailed-on, path to qualification.

Expect an intense - and highly-entertaining - encounter when RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund meet in the race for fourth. - Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga

Mainz vs. Cologne

Cologne missed a major opportunity to boost their survival chances last weekend, succumbing to defeat at the hands of rock-bottom Darmstadt. Meanwhile, Mainz claimed a draw at Freiburg in the final game of Matchday 30, which lifted the 05ers out of the bottom-three on goal difference.

There is now a five-point gap between Mainz in the safety of 15th and Cologne in second-bottom. Defeat for the Billy Goats would put them on the brink of relegation, while a win for either side would be a major lift going into the final weeks. Especially so for Mainz, who would be just one more win from safety.

Expect nerves, passion and a boatload of drama when the two relegation rivals lock horns on Sunday (kick-off: 5.30pm CEST).

Watch: Cologne slipped up against Darmstadt last time out - highlights

That's not all...

Mainz and Cologne will both have eyes on the matchday's bookends, which see third-bottom Bochum (level on points with Mainz) taking on Hoffenheim (six points off sixth) to get us underway on Friday night (kick-off: 8.30pm CEST) and Darmstadt hosting Heidenheim in Sunday's final fixture (kick-off: 7.30pm CEST).

Like Hoffenheim, Freiburg and Augsburg are also chasing European places, going up against Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen outfits, respectively, who can each avoid automatic relegation if results go their way.

Nerves will also be jangling at Borussia Park in Sunday's early game (kick-off: 3.30pm CEST), where neither Borussia Mönchenglach nor Union Berlin are currently safe from relegation.

High stakes and high in quality, Matchday 31 is not to be missed and you can follow all the action as it happens, right here.