Borussia Dortmund are nine points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. Can BVB reel in the defending champions with five rounds of fixtures, including a trip to the Allianz Arena, still to play?
bundesliga.com assesses the top two's prospects down the back straight...
Goal difference: +57
Remaining fixtures: Bielefeld (a), Dortmund (h), Mainz (a), Stuttgart (h), Wolfsburg (a)
Bidding for a 10th straight Bundesliga title, Bayern have established what would appear to be quite a comfortable advantage of nine points. Dortmund have improved in 2022 - their Matchday 28 defeat to RB Leipzig notwithstanding - so Bayern know they cannot simply expect a stroll to the title this term, even if history is on their side.
In the previous 58 seasons of Bundesliga football, the table leader on Matchday 29 has gone on to lift the title 47 times. In the last 14 campaigns alone, that team has been record 30-time champions Bayern on 11 occasions - which is nine on the spin after leading the table at the same stage this term.
As before, Der Klassiker with Dortmund, slated for Matchday 31, could have a major bearing on the destination of the 2021/22 title, with the rest of Bayern's remaining fixtures a little more manageable, especially after they brushed aside high-flying Freiburg.
Watch: Der Klassiker explained
Julian Nagelsmann's men will look to maintain or increase their advantage over BVB when they face relegation-threatened Bielefeld in the build-up to that potentially decisive Klassiker.
Goal difference: +28
Remaining fixtures: Wolfsburg (h), Bayern (a), Bochum (h), Greuther Fürth (a), Hertha Berlin (h)
Dortmund have picked up the same amount of points as Bayern since the turn of the year, fanning some flames of hope as the business end of the season approaches. And Saturday 23 April is circled in the diary as the day when the title race can take a dramatic turn.
Between now and then, Bayern have more than just their Bundesliga challenges to deal with. They face Spain's Villarreal in the second leg of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final, trailing 1-0 from the first leg and putting more pressure on the team while Dortmund's focus is exclusively Bundesliga, with Leipzig (h), VfB Stuttgart (a) and Wolfsburg (h) to come and no European or other midweek distractions.
Another boost for Borussia has come from the return to fitness of Erling Haaland, who was on target for his country during the international break and adds a dimension to the Dortmund attack that has been lacking in recent months – even if they have learned to scrape wins without the Norwegian, and that is a traditional hallmark of champions.
US playmaker Gio Reyna - who set up Axel Witsel's 87th-minute winner in Mainz - may be ruled out again with anotheer injury, but head coach Marco Rose still has first-choice defenders Manuel Akanji, Raphael Guerreiro and Mats Hummels to reintroduce to the fold.
With the business end of the season nigh, the chances are still there for Dortmund. They will, however, need to be faultless and hope Bayern slip up at least three times between now and the end of the season.
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