The penultimate matchday of the Bundesliga's 50th season is already upon us and it looks very much as if a few big decisions are going right down to the wire. A Champions League qualifying place and two Europa League berths remain up for grabs at one end of the table, while four clubs are still battling to steer clear of two relegation slots at the other. GOAL! will not be neglecting any of the outstanding issues, of course, in addition to which this week there's a look at two coaches with every reason to be satisfied with their respective campaigns, and the eleven players bundesliga.com users voted onto their Team of the Season. Don't miss it!
Top Game I
Two matchdays to go and Schalke 04 are firmly in the driving seat to clinch fourth place in the table and the UEFA Champions League qualifying berth that goes with it. It's far from in the bag yet though for the Royal Blues, with Eintracht Frankfurt and SC Freiburg both still in a position to pip them at the post - and a trip to the latter upcoming to round out the campaign. Victory, then, is a must for Jens Keller's men in their final home game of the season, against VfB Stuttgart. The visitors arrive on the back of a 2-0 home loss to relegated Greuther Fürth and can be thankful for their season-salvaging progression to the DFB Cup final which, being against FC Bayern, has already guaranteed them a tilt at Europe next time around. The pressure is all on the hosts for this one - but thriving under pressure is what it's all about for any team gunning for a place at the European game's top table.
What remains for Bayern Munich to do in the Bundesliga this season? For one thing, they have the opportunity to further extend their all-time points record - two more wins would even take them over the 90 mark. For another, they are nine goals shy of treble figures for the campaign, a barrier only they themselves, in a far earlier incarnation, have managed to crack once. Western Bavarian neighbours FC Augsburg will, at any rate, be battling tooth and nail at the Allianz Arena to contribute precisely nothing to either of those potential targets. Not in order to spoil the post-match party accompanying the official handing-over of the championship plate, but because they desperately need a result to keep clear of the bottom two and, with a bit of luck, perhaps even escape the relegation play-off place.
3 Minutes with...
...Jos Luhukay. Having guided FC Augsburg up to the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's history, and then defied the odds by keeping them there, Luhukay bade the Bavarian Swabians farewell last summer and voluntarily dropped down a flight to take up the reins at Hertha BSC. The Dutch tactician's mission there was unequivocal - to restore Bundesliga football to the capital at the earliest possible opportunity. In that, he has succeeded, and in fine style. Berlin's Olympiastadion will once again be playing host to the likes of FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund next season and Luhukay is looking forward to testing his mettle against the Bundesliga's best as he continues the process aimed at helping Hertha regain their place among the country's football elite.
The votes are in, the result is clear, the line-up complete. bundesliga.com's 2012/13 Team of the Season makes for compelling reading and alongside the tried-and-tested names there are one or two slight surprises. It goes without saying, nonetheless, that this is an absolute world-class quality XI from front to back and while - no surprise here - the bulk of the team is culled from the ranks of FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, a couple of other clubs get a look-in as well. So who made the final cut? GOAL! will reveal all.