Coming up this week on GOAL!...
Top Game I
On the face of it, FC Bayern München against VfB Stuttgart looks like something of a dead rubber, not least because Bayern did their traditional southern rivals the favour of winning at Hamburg and thus confirming VfB's Bundesliga status for another season – despite their own home loss to Wolfsburg. However, with the top-flight survival mission accomplished, Stuttgart have incentive aplenty to end a topsy-turvy campaign on a salutary note with a good performance and result against a side who have beaten them in their last ten competitive meetings, seven of them in the Bundesliga. For their part, the hosts, who will be formally presented with the championship shield on Saturday, have a point or two to prove themselves on the back of the post-title-securing form dip which culminated in their comprehensive Champions League defeat against Real Madrid. Bayern also need to maintain a winning rhythm ahead of the last challenge of an exacting season – the defence of the DFB Cup against arch-rivals Dortmund in Berlin.
At the other end of the standings, Hamburger SV go into the final matchday still battling to retain their status as the one club with an unblemished Bundesliga attendance record. Defeats for fellow basement battlers Nürnberg and Braunschweig leaves the Red Shorts' fate still in their own hands when they take to the pitch at 1. FSV Mainz 05, themselves still very much in need of a result to keep Augsburg at bay in the battle for the last remaining Europa League berth. Their own home loss to FC Bayern was the fourth running for Mirko Slomka's charges however and securing the win needed to be sure of a last-ditch shot at redemption by way of the play-offs is looking like a big ask at the moment. With a unique Bundesliga record hanging in the balance, GOAL! reports on the build-up to a game of unprecedented significance in Hamburg's long and distinguished history.
Should Hamburg survive, one team they could well be facing in the Bundesliga next season are the second-flight's 2013/14 surprise package, SC Paderborn. The modest North Rhine-Westphalian outfit have been in the promotion frame more than once in recent years, but this time around they have outlasted more fancied rivals and Sunday's 2-0 win at Erzgebirge Aue leaves them needing one more maximum haul at home to VfR Aalen to be sure of a place at German football's top table for the first time ever. It would be quite a step up for a club who on occasion found themselves playing to crowds barely making it into four figures not so long ago at their singular former stadium. It's a step, nonetheless, which Paderborn are naturally ready and very willing to take.
3 Minutes with...
...Rudi Völler. For the best part of a decade from the mid 1980s onwards, Völler was one of the European game's top-rated forwards, hitting the net with predictable regularity for then-Bundesliga powerhouse Werder Bremen, AS Roma, Olympique Marseille and Germany, before winding down his playing career at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. These days the long-established sporting director of the Werkself, Völler also had a four-year stint in charge of the national team, guiding them against general expectations to the final of the 2002 World Cup. GOAL! shoots the breeze with one of the German game's best-known figures who, among other things, holds the Bundesliga record for the most goals scored in the first 100 games at any one club – 73 for Bremen.