Freiburg - FC Augsburg could find themselves in long-forgotten territory with the right result against European hopefuls SC Freiburg on Sunday afternoon (15:30 CET).
Not since Matchday 3 have the Bavarians experienced life outside the drop zone, but victory at the MAGE SOLAR Stadium could see them assume 15th place in the table with two games to go.
"We want to set about our task just as we did against Frankfurt and Stuttgart," said Augsburg head coach Markus Weinzierl, who has seen his charges record pivotal back-to-back home wins either side of a narrow defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach in recent weeks. "Now we have to do it away from home. We've got to make our chances and convert them. At the business end of the campaign, it's all about taking the decisive points!" he proclaimed.
And that remains the case for a whole host of Bundesliga outfits right now, relegation-battling Augsburg very much included, with FC Bayern Munich's status as champions, Borussia Dortmund's position as nearly-rans, Bayer 04 Leverkusen's place in the top four and Greuther Fürth's relegation to the second tier the only certainties to have so far emerged from an unbelievably nip-tuck campaign.
Hosts Freiburg, for one, are in the throngs of a six-man slugfest in the race for Europe - an ever-changing tussle unlikely to be resolved before the final ball has been kicked on May 18. "Of course we want to stay where we are," said head coach Christian Streich of his side's pre-Matchday 32 standing of sixth in the table. "To achieve the best finish possible, we want to give it everything in the next three games […] but we know it's going to be tough."
Die Breisgauer have lost three of their last five and curiously enough find themselves two points worse off than Augsburg since the turn of the year. "It really doesn't surprise me," said Streich.“ I saw their [Augsburg's] first game after the winter break against Fortuna Düsseldorf. They're solid, tactically sound, aggressive and versatile. They're in fine form at the moment and that's reflected in the 21 points they've picked up during the second half of the season. We're going to have to use everything we've got to beat them."
To that end, club captain Julian Schuster is back in contention after sitting out last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Bayern through suspension. Freiburg can also call on Jan Rosenthal following a two-week spell on the sidelines, but defender Pavel Krmas (ankle) is a major doubt.
Augsburg, meanwhile, go into Sunday's clash with in-form striker Dong-Won Ji fit and raring to go after thrice hitting the net in his last three outings, but without the services of Matthias Ostrzolek (suspended), Ja-Cheol Koo (stomach) and Sebastian Langkamp (groin).
Freiburg: Baumann - Mujdza, Ginter, Diagne, Sorg - Makiadi, Schuster - Schmid, D. Caligiuri - Rosenthal, M. Kruse
Augsburg: Manninger - Verhaegh, Callsen-Bracker, Klavan, de Jong - Baier - Hahn, Moravek, Ji, Werner - Mölders