Cologne - The 2014/15 Bundesliga relegation battle is the closest in German top-flight history. With just four points separating 13th-placed Hertha Berlin from rock-bottom VfB Stuttgart going into Matchday 33, the fight for survival is almost certain to come down to the finest of margins. takes a look at six players that could prove key to their sides’ hopes of top-flight survival…

If Hertha's recent games are anything to go by, their hopes of staying up rest largely on Stocker's shoulders. The Swiss international, who has scored three of the Old Lady's last four Bundesliga strikes, has been directly involved in eight of Hertha's eleven goals since the turn of the year. The summer signing from FC Basel 1893 will surely fancy his chances of continuing his fine run of form in the capital club's remaining games - against Eintracht Frankfurt and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

A peripheral figure for the majority of the campaign, Kacar's recent goals against 1. FSV Mainz 05 (on Matchday 31) and SC Freiburg (on Matchday 32) could well keep HSV's heads above water this term. Statistics also suggest that the Red Shorts are a much better outfit with Kacar in their ranks: in the eleven games in which the Serbian has featured this season, Hamburg have collected 21 points (compared to just eleven points from the 21 matches without the 28-year-old in their side).

The former FC Bayern München striker has scored seven times in ten appearances for the Black Forest outfit - at an average of a goal every 68 minutes - since joining the club on loan from SV Werder Bremen in January. More importantly perhaps, when Petersen finds the back of the net, Freiburg tend to pick up points: Christian Streich's side have lost only one of the games in which Peterson has struck, drawing one and winning the other two.

Having agreed to join UEFA Champions League-bound Borussia Mönchengladbach at the end of the season, Stindl seems eager to end his final season in Hannover colours on a high note: the Reds skipper has scored five goals in his last seven league appearances, taking his overall tally for the season to eight - twice as many as his previous season's best. First and foremost, though, Michael Frontzeck's side have to rediscover that winning formula to stand any chance of staying in the Bundesliga.

Lakic has played an integral part in each of Paderborn's three league victories since the turn of the calendar year. The 31-year-old scored the equaliser in a 2-1 win at Hannover on Matchday 21, netted the winner against FC Augsburg on Matchday 28 and set up Lukas Rupp's winner at Freiburg two weeks ago. In short, the East Westphalians have won every time Lakic has been directly involved in a goal.

Like Paderborn, bottom-of-the-table Stuttgart have won only three games in the 2014/15 Rückrunde, but Ginczek has found the net in each of those victories. The former 1. FC Nürnberg striker has scored six goals and provided two assists in his last seven Bundesliga appearances and if the Swabians are to stay up, head coach Huub Stevens must continue to get the best out of his 24-year-old frontman.