Borussia Dortmund's Paco Alcacer (l.) and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (r.) will both be hoping to fire their sides to the Bundesliga title this season. - DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Borussia Dortmund's Paco Alcacer (l.) and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (r.) will both be hoping to fire their sides to the Bundesliga title this season. - DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Bundesliga title race run-in: Who do Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have to play?

Who will hold their nerve in the title race? And which teams could put a spanner in the works for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund? With eight games to go, assesses the top two’s final fixtures.

Bayern lead the way on goal difference, having scored four more and conceded three fewer than their nearest pursuers - who were nine points clear of the defending champions after Matchday 15.

Watch: Axel Witsel says Dortmund's trip to Bayern on 6 April will be key to title race

Matchday 27

Saturday 30 March

Dortmund: Wolfsburg (h)
Last season: 0-0 draw
This season: Dortmund won 1-0 away on MD10

Bayern: Freiburg (a)
Last season: Bayern won 4-0 away
This season: 1-1 draw on MD10

On another day when the title rivals play at the same time, Dortmund have a tricky home game against Wolfsburg. The Wolves are chasing a European place this term, and got a vital point in Dortmund last season which proved crucial in their bid to avoid relegation.

Bayern face a long trip west to Freiburg, which hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground.  They had it easy last March, but needed an injury-time winner from Robert Lewandowski in January 2017 and slipped to a 2-1 defeat there in May 2015. Freiburg won’t fear the visitors either, having escaped from Munich with a point in November.

A rare headed goal from Reus gave Dortmund a win against Wolfsburg earlier this season. - imago/DeFodi

Matchday 28

Saturday 6 April

Bayern v Dortmund

Last season: 6-0 win for Bayern
This season: Dortmund won 3-2 at home on MD11

The first meeting of the top two this season was a cracker, and Dortmund’s success in November confirmed that Bayern would face a serious title challenge. The second encounter –  which falls three days after the home side’s DFB Cup quarter-final clash with second-tier Heidenheim – could end up proving decisive.

Dortmund did the double over Bayern in each of their title wins in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, and this game will bring memories of another classic encounter between the pair that led to BVB’s most recent success. With five games to go that season, Dortmund hosted Bayern in April 2012 and won a tense and action-packed tie 1-0 – thanks to a late Lewandowski goal. Dortmund travel to face Lewandowski and Bayern this time around, and could do with getting a first league win in Munich since April 2014.

Watch: Highlights of Dortmund's last showdown with Bayern

Matchday 29

Dates and kick-off times to be confirmed

Dortmund: Mainz (h)
Last season: 2-1 win for Mainz
This season: Dortmund won 2-1 away on MD12

Bayern: Fortuna Düsseldorf (a)
Last season: N/A
This season: 3-3 draw on MD12

Dortmund’s hopes of making the top four – and securing Champions League football – were almost derailed when relegation-threatened Mainz earned a stunning win last May. Favre’s men can ill-afford another slip-up against the 05ers, though the visitors – having got 30 points on the board by Matchday 23 this year – should have a lot less to play for.

Newly promoted this season, Fortuna Düsseldorf have already hurt Bayern’s title chances once, when a brilliant Dodi Lukebakio hat-trick earned them an impressive 3-3 draw in Munich. They soon followed that result by condemning Dortmund to their first league defeat, and that 2-1 home win in December should give Bayern plenty of food for thought.

Düsseldorf’s Dodi Lukebakio (c.) was unstoppable when he took on Bayern in Munich. - imago/DeFodi

Matchday 30

Dates and kick-off times to be confirmed

Dortmund: Freiburg (a)
Last season: 0-0 draw
This season: Dortmund won 2-1 at home on MD13

Bayern: Werder Bremen (h)
Last season: 4-2 win for Bayern
This season: Bayern won 2-1 away on MD13

Freiburg tend to make life difficult for most visitors to the Schwarzwald-Stadion, and Dortmund were held scoreless last season despite playing against 10 men for over an hour. The five-time Bundesliga champions had won on their previous six visits to the ground, however, so they should travel wary but confident.

Dortmund won’t hold out too much hope of Bayern faltering this weekend. After all, the champions have won 18 games in a row – including 16 in the league – against Werder Bremen. All good things come to an end, however, and – having shipped some heavy defeats in Munich in recent years – Bremen would love to put a dent in Bayern’s title hopes.

Serge Gnabry (l.) scored twice against his former team to give Bayern victory in Bremen. - imago/Team 2

Matchday 31

Dates and kick-off times to be confirmed

Dortmund: Schalke (h)
Last season: 4-4 draw
This season: Dortmund won 2-1 away on MD14

Bayern: Nuremberg (a)
Last season: N/A
This season: Bayern won 3-0 away on MD14

Dortmund could argue that winning a league title is even tougher for them, since they have to negotiate two particularly heated derby fixtures each season. Just over 20 miles (35 kilometres) separate Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen, and Schalke supporters would hate to see their local rivals become German champions. No one will ever forget last season’s Revierderby fixture in Dortmund, when the visitors came back from 4-0 down to salvage a point. BVB will be determined not to allow their neighbours to spoil the party again.

Bayern have a Bavarian derby to contend with, but one they would expect to handle. Bottom club Nuremberg held Dortmund to a scoreless draw in February, however, and Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen have also left there with just one point. On their last stay in the top flight – between 2009 and 2014 – Nuremberg drew three times in five matches against Bayern.

Watch: Highlights of Dortmund's win over Schalke earlier this season

Matchday 32

Dates and kick-off times to be confirmed

Dortmund: Werder Bremen (a)
Last season: 1-1 draw
This season: Dortmund won 2-1 at home on MD15

Bayern: Hannover (h)
Last season: 3-1 win for Bayern
This season: Bayern won 4-0 away on MD15

In recent years, Dortmund’s matches in Bremen have been tight affairs, and this one is likely to be no different. Thomas Delaney has switched sides since getting an equaliser for the Green-Whites in last season’s meeting in Bremen, but the home team will not be too fearful. They lost narrowly in Dortmund in December, before returning there in February to progress to the DFB Cup quarter-finals on penalties following a 3-3 draw.

Before this season, Bayern had won their 12 previous matches against Hannover – often by a big margin. That run continued with a comfortable away win in December, and it would be a real surprise if Bayern drop points against a team that has struggled on their travels this season.

Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich (c.) enjoyed his goal against Hannover in December. - imago/Team 2

Matchday 33

Saturday 11 May

Dortmund: Fortuna Düsseldorf (h)
Last season: N/A
This season: Düssseldorf won 2-1 at home on MD16

Bayern: RB Leipzig (a)
Last season: 2-1 win for Leipzig
This season: Bayern won 1-0 at home MD16

Revenge will be on Dortmund minds when Düsseldorf come to town on the penultimate day of the season. BVB will also hope that the visitors will be thinking about summer holiday plans after successfully securing another year of top-flight football.

There have been some dramatic matches in Leipzig since RB got to the top tier in 2016. Bayern came from 4-2 down – thanks to two goals in injury-time – to win a madcap encounter 5-4 in May 2017, before following up with a penalty shootout win in the DFB Cup that October. Leipzig – who could well be fighting for third place by the time this game comes around - came from behind to win in the league last season.

Franck Ribery (l.) scored the only goal of the game when Bayern Munich faced RB Leipzig earlier this season. - 2018 Getty Images

Matchday 34

Saturday 18 May

Dortmund: Borussia Mönchengladbach (a)
Last season: 1-0 Dortmund win
This season: Dortmund won 2-1 at home on MD17

Bayern: Eintracht Frankfurt (h)
Last season: 4-1 Bayern win
This season: Bayern won 3-0 away on MD17

If Dortmund are to win the title, they sure have to do it the hard way. Gladbach don’t tend to lose many games at home, and on the final day of the season they will more than likely still be in with a shout of getting a European place. Dortmund have won on their last three trips though – with former Foal Marco Reus getting the only goal last season – so there is cause for optimism for Favre when he returns to another of his former clubs.

Could it all finish how it started for the champions? In August Niko Kovac returned to his previous employers – the team he helped guide past Bayern in the 2017/18 DFB Cup final – to watch Bayern win 5-0 against the Eagles in the DFL Supercup that kicked off the season. Will Kovac – after a rocky period pre-Christmas – return to Frankfurt to celebrate another title triumph with Bayern? The high-flying home side could still have plenty to play for by then, however, and will be keen to get a first league win over the visitors since March 2010.